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Monday, June 30, 2014

Frank Cashen dies at age 88

All bow to Bow-tie Cashen.

Frank Cashen, the architect of the 1986 world champion New York Mets, died Monday, a team spokesman said. He was 88.

Cashen, who died at Memorial Hospital in Easton, Maryland, served as Mets general manager from 1980 through 1991, transforming the organization from a perennial loser into a juggernaut.

According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets owned the best record in Major League Baseball during Cashen’s final eight seasons as they compiled a 743-550 mark from 1984-91.

“On behalf of all of us at the Mets, we extend our deepest condolences to Jean Cashen and her entire family,” Mets principal owner Fred Wilpon said in a statement. “Frank Cashen revitalized our franchise when he took over in 1980 as general manager and helped engineer us to a world championship in 1986.

“I dealt with Frank on a daily basis and he was a man of integrity and great passion. No one had a more diverse career than Frank. He was also a lawyer, sports writer and marketing executive. His accomplishments will always be an integral part of our team history.”

Repoz Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:36 PM | 18 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: mets

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   1. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:52 PM (#4740150)
That's too bad. I remember Lou Gorman always speaking well of Cashen. RIP.
   2. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: June 30, 2014 at 04:54 PM (#4740155)
Maybe it's just me but I associate him more with the 60's Orioles than the 80's Mets
   3. dr. scott Posted: June 30, 2014 at 06:15 PM (#4740265)
Don't know why my first reaction was "Didn't the Riddler die 10 years ago?". it must be because I was working in a haunted house during the 86 world series as the "Disembodied head of Nosferatu". Once an inning, in addition to the normal schtick I'd give for 35 seconds to each group that passed by, I'd update the score of game 6.
   4. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 30, 2014 at 06:16 PM (#4740266)
I think it comes down to this: Cashen wasn't the GM when the Orioles won World Series in 1966 and 1970. Harry Dalton was, but Cashen was one of his top advisors and almost certainly played a role in the trade for Frank Robinson and the hiring of Earl Weaver. When Dalton left after the '71 season, Cashen took over as GM, but by then the O's had some age on them.

Cashen did a brilliant job putting together the Mets in the early eighties. He made both the Carter and the Hernandez trades, and also acquired Bobby Ojeda and Sid Fernandez in under-the-radar deals.

I'll also remember Cashen for his famous line in the Mets' clubhouse after they beat the Red Sox in Game Seven. As fringe reliever Randy Niemann threw champagne on him (and others), Cashen screamed out, "Why is it always that the guys who do the least spray the most champagne?" Classic.
   5. Mark Armour Posted: June 30, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4740304)
Actually, Bruce, Cashen was not Dalton's advisor, he was Dalton's boss. When Jerry Hoffberger gained control of the Orioles in 1965 he gave Cashen (who worked for him at his brewery) the job as team president. Lee MacPhail left to work in the Commissioner's office, and Cashen promoted Dalton (who had been the farm director) to GM. When Dalton left after the 1971 Series, Cashen named himself the GM.

The trade for Robinson, made at the 1965 winter meetings, was supposedly made by MacPhail, who then asked Dalton (who was transitioning into the job) to approve the deal. Cashen, the new team president, likely had to give the thumbs up as well.

This organizational structure, with a team president or CEO who sits between ownership and the GM on the org chart, basically began in the 1960s. What was unusual was Cashen, a non-baseball guy, becoming GM.
   6. PreservedFish Posted: June 30, 2014 at 06:51 PM (#4740305)
Cashen assembled a crazy amount of talent with the 80s Mets. Gooden and Strawberry, of course. Kevin Mitchell. Trades for HoJo and Cone. Guys like Ron Darling and Kevin McReynolds were among the highest rated prospects of their generation. I remember reading Dollar Sign on the Muscle and being amazed at how many of the great prospects mentioned ended up in a Mets uniform.
   7. Batman Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:02 PM (#4740340)
I just read Gooden's latest autobiography last week. Then Darryl Strawberry was profiled on Real Sports and now Cashen dies. If Dykstra's not in jail right now, he'll probably be arrested soon. Of course, you can usually say that with reasonable certainty.
   8. PreservedFish Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:08 PM (#4740343)
They are talking about Cashen on the Mets broadcast. Keith Hernandez just told the story of how he was traded to the Mets. He says that Whitey Herzog cold called Frank Cashen and proposed the deal in toto (Hernandez for Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey). There was nothing for Cashen to do but play it cool and accept the proposal.
   9. Bruce Markusen Posted: June 30, 2014 at 08:52 PM (#4740382)
Mark, a couple of questions: Who was primarily making the deals for the O's: Cashen, Dalton, or both? And did Cashen have to approve all trades made by the O's up till '71?
   10. AndrewJ Posted: June 30, 2014 at 09:10 PM (#4740388)
I was working in a haunted house during the 86 world series as the "Disembodied head of Nosferatu". Once an inning, in addition to the normal schtick I'd give for 35 seconds to each group that passed by, I'd update the score of game 6.

Similar story here: I was working the game room of the student union in college the night of Game 6 with the radio on, and wrote out a linescore* near the cash register for the benefit of the patrons. A lot of New Englanders and Long Islanders were playing ping-pong/video games there that evening. We closed at midnight and I was reconciling the receipts with the cash in one of the storage rooms when Henderson homered, and I stayed there just long enough for the entirety of the bottom of the 10th. Walking back to my dorm, Met fans were screaming hysterically out of their windows.

* No, I didn't save it.
   11. Mark Armour Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:28 AM (#4740487)
Bruce, I am fairly certain that this was all Dalton. I am sure Cashen was involved in at least approving the bigger deals, but I have never heard of a time he did not approve.

The Dalton papers are in the Hall of Fame library, and I went through them last summer. There is a fascinating letter he (Dalton) wrote to Cashen in October 1971, as he was leaving. He gave Cashen a run down of the organization, and told of his recommendations for what the Orioles should do. For one, he recommended that the team trade Frank Robinson in order to clear space for some of their young outfielders, but, in deference to Frank, suggested that he be traded to team in California, preferably southern California. A couple of months later, Cashen in fact traded Robinson to the Dodgers.

When Dalton left for the Angels he said it was because he wanted a new challenge. He also got more power, as he reported directly to Autry. A few years later Autry hired Buzzie Bavasi as his president, and Dalton soon left again, for Milwaukee. Also in the Dalton papers is a handwritten note to himself preparing for his job interview with Bud Selig to take over the Brewers. The first thing he wrote at the top, and he underlined it, was that he required absolute authority over baseball operations. Reading that, I assume this played a role in his leaving Baltimore and California.

These kinds of problems persist to this day. Epstein famously chafed under Lucchino in Boston, and got much more power in Chicago.
   12. 'zop sympathizes with the wrong ####### people Posted: July 01, 2014 at 12:42 AM (#4740489)
When I was a little kid - I mean, 4 years old - the Mets won the World Series. I was hooked on baseball. After a year of catching fuzzy games on the TV through rabbit ears and coaxing my immigrant father to take me to Shea twice, my mother was complaining to her colleague how her son was obsessed with baseball and her husband didn't know the game.

Let my friend help you, he said. Fly down to Florida, spend a few days in port st. Lucie. He'll tell you where to stay and he'll get you free tickets.

And that's how I ended up, at age 6, staying at the same hotel as the Mets coaches and sitting in the first row behind the Mets on deck circle. Because my mom's colleague's best friend was Frank Cashen, and I guess when he heard the story he decided to show a kid a great time.

Frank Cashen turned me into a lifelong baseball fan.
   13. Bruce Markusen Posted: July 01, 2014 at 07:27 AM (#4740513)
Thanks, Mark. I will have to check out those papers. Did not know about them.
   14. tfbg9 Posted: July 01, 2014 at 01:46 PM (#4740823)
The mid-80's Met's were a blast to watch, and stole the City from the NYY's for a few years. RIP Frank.
   15. JE (Jason Epstein) Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:17 PM (#4740883)
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, the Mets owned the best record in Major League Baseball during Cashen’s final eight seasons as they compiled a 743-550 mark from 1984-91.

Even if he/she weren't a math major, does a sportswriter really need the Elias Sports Bureau to point this out?
   16. Lassus Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4740943)
It's crazy to say, but to me, that year we won is actually worth a lifetime of fandom. What a joyride. Being 16 at the time probably didn't hurt. But it was awesome x a thousand.
   17. dr. scott Posted: July 01, 2014 at 02:39 PM (#4740944)
Similar story here: I was working the game room of the student union in college the night of Game 6 with the radio on, and wrote out a linescore* near the cash register for the benefit of the patrons.A lot of New Englanders and Long Islanders were playing ping-pong/video games there that evening.


I was in Atlanta (At the Rhodes House on West Peachtree for those in the know), so not many folks with serious rooting interests, yet everyone "seemed" to be interested in this series. I was 15, and it was the first series i remember seriously, as after about mid April, the braves were usually out of it until 1991.
   18. Karl from NY Posted: July 01, 2014 at 04:06 PM (#4741100)
It's crazy to say, but to me, that year we won is actually worth a lifetime of fandom.

This, totally. Without 1986, we're just another edition of the eternally sad sack Jets with one flukey title and nothing ever since.

I was 8 and just a bit too young to watch or remember the 1986 WS games firsthand. But I do remember reading the Newsday accounts each following day, starting with NLCS game 6. I didn't really understand how titanic WS game 6 was until a few years later, though.

1988 was really my formative baseball year. By then I knew all the players and followed the team every day and watched most weekend games. If only not for Orel Frickin Hershiser in the NLCS...

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