Frank Cashen

Last updated
Frank Cashen
Frank Cashen's Mets Hall of Fame Speech CROP.jpg
Cashen speaking after being inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame, 2010.
Born
John Francis Cashen

(1925-09-13)September 13, 1925
DiedJune 30, 2014(2014-06-30) (aged 88)
OccupationBaseball executive

John Francis Cashen (September 13, 1925 – June 30, 2014) was a Major League Baseball general manager. He was an executive when the Baltimore Orioles won the 1966 World Series, and 1970 World Series while winning three consecutive AL pennants from 1969 to 1971. Later he became General Manager of the New York Mets from 1980 to 1991, and the club won the 1986 World Series during his tenure.

Contents

Early life

Cashen was born in Baltimore, Maryland in 1925 [1] [2] and grew up admiring and playing baseball. He played second base at Loyola College in Maryland but was unable to hit well and did not pursue a playing career. Instead, he joined the largest circulation daily afternoon newspaper in the city and state of Hearst-owned papers of the Baltimore News-Post (founded as the Baltimore News in 1873) and the Baltimore American (founded 1773 - published Sundays after 1920s), becoming an award-winning sportswriter over 17 years at the popular newspapers. He spent nights at the University of Maryland School of Law, graduating with a J.D. degree in 1958. He assumed his career would either be in journalism or the law. [1] Instead, he was hired by Jerold ("Jerry") Hoffberger to be a publicity director for two Baltimore horse racing tracks and later became the advertising head at the National Brewing Company where Hoffberger was president, which produced the region's dominant brew National Bohemian Beer. In 1965, when Hoffberger's brewing company purchased the Baltimore Orioles franchise in full (Hoffberger had previously been a continuing original investor and part-owner of the team since their purchase/moving in November 1953, beginning play the following season in April 1954 as part of the business / civic interests purchasing syndicate led by then attorney Clarence Miles, with the assistance and support of then Mayor of Baltimore Thomas D'Alesandro Jr., Cashen eagerly accepted the position of executive vice president of the Major League Baseball franchise / team assisting Hoffberger who was now President of the Orioles club and majority stockholder. [1]

Baltimore Orioles

Soon after taking over the reins of "The Birds", with Hoffberger's encouragement and Cashen overseeing baseball operations in Baltimore, then general manager Harry Dalton made a deal to acquire future Hall of Famer Frank Robinson from the Cincinnati Reds in the National League, sending pitcher Milt Pappas, pitcher Jack Baldschun and outfielder Dick Simpson in return. The following amazing season of 1966, Robinson won the triple crown and Baltimore won the American League pennant plus going on to win the 1966 World Series in four straight games out of 7 for their first championship since returning to the Major Leagues 12 years earlier. In 1968, the Cashen/Dalton front office team moved up their Rochester Redwings Triple AAA level in the International League and top minor league manager and eventual Hall of Fame member as Orioles new manager Earl Weaver, succeeding skipper Hank Bauer who had improved the team so much leading them to that first AL flag. The Orioles won all three American League pennants from 1969 to 1971 and won the 1970 World Series. [3] After 1971, Dalton left to become general manager of the Los Angeles Angels and Cashen took over G.M. duties for the Orioles. [3]

Cashen was being mentioned as a candidate for the American League presidency and was a leading choice to replace Baseball Commissioner Bowie Kuhn when a group of team owners tried to oust Kuhn in 1975. Kuhn survived the storm of 1975. Also in 1975 Hofferger's National Brewery merged with Carling Brewery (American Operation). Hofferger requested Cashen to leave the Orioles and return to the combined Carling National Brewery as senior vice president of marketing and sales. In 1979, he returned to baseball when MLB Commissioner Kuhn hired him as the Administrator of Baseball Operations. [ citation needed ]

New York Mets - Building a champion

In January 1980, Nelson Doubleday Jr. and Fred Wilpon bought the New York Mets ("Metropolitans") after the Mets' third consecutive last-place finish. They were advised by several people to contact Cashen and, after he predicted four or five years to work for a turnaround, the new owners hired him for $500,000 over five years. Cashen hired public relations firm Della Femina Travisano & Partners. A new slogan, "The Magic Is Back!", was used for a renewed publicity advertising campaign along with new television commercials emphasizing past New York area stars rather than the dismal Mets of the late 1970s. [1]

On the field, the Mets made few trades early on, but took a chance with the first pick in the Major League Baseball Draft to sign a talented, but raw high school player, Darryl Strawberry, who eventually finished his Mets career as the all-time franchise leader in home runs and RBIs. In 1981, Cashen promoted Hubie Brooks and Mookie Wilson to the majors for spring training and then traded for brash home run hitter Dave Kingman. In 1982, Cashen delighted New York fans by trading for former unanimous MVP, George Foster, who then signed a five-year, $10 million contract with the club. [1] Two months later, Cashen alienated many fans by trading away fan favorite, Lee Mazzilli, who soon declined while one of the two pitchers the Mets received, Ron Darling, became an All-Star and the other pitcher, Walt Terrell, was later traded for offensive star, Howard Johnson. At the same time as the Mazzilli trade, the Mets were scouting young pitcher, Dwight Gooden, who they picked in the 1982 draft. Gooden would later become the ace of the pitching staff through the Mets' strong years and championship. [ citation needed ]

While Foster and Kingman performed below expectations and the Mets finished poorly in both 1982 and 1983, Cashen made one of the most lopsided trades in franchise history, acquiring former MVP, batting champion, and 1982 World Champion member Keith Hernandez from St. Louis for pitchers Neil Allen and Rick Ownbey. Hernandez became a team leader both offensively and defensively while Allen was an average pitcher and Ownbey played in only 21 more games in the majors. [ citation needed ]

In 1984, Cashen hired Davey Johnson to be the Mets' manager for a $100,000 annual salary. [1] Johnson had been the second baseman with the Orioles during the 1960s and early 1970s while Cashen was the G.M. [4] After a successful 1984 season which saw the Mets first winning record since 1976, Cashen and the Mets traded Hubie Brooks and three others to the Montreal Expos for future Hall of Fame catcher, Gary Carter, and most of the pieces were in place for a championship team. The Mets barely missed the playoffs in 1985 and then won the 1986 World Series with the best record of any team during the 1980s. [3]

New York Mets - Decline at Shea

While Cashen was largely credited for building the Mets into the 1986 World Champions, he was quickly vilified for dismantling the franchise when a dynasty never materialized. In various transactions, scrappy clubhouse leaders, Lenny Dykstra, Roger McDowell, and Wally Backman, as well as fan favorite, Mookie Wilson, [3] and future All-Stars, Rick Aguilera and Kevin Tapani, were traded away.

In return, the Mets received the hugely disappointing Juan Samuel as well as Frank Viola (who won 20 games in 1990 but was otherwise only average in less than three seasons with New York), Jeff Musselman (who was out of baseball after 1990), and four players that never played in the majors. Hernandez, Carter, and World Series MVP Ray Knight were either released or granted free agency in the years following the championship. Instead, the Mets hopes were pinned on Gregg Jefferies who soon faltered and was very unpopular on the team. [1] After stumbling to a fifth-place finish in 1991, at the end of the season Cashen stepped down as the Mets' general manager after an 11 year tenure of both successes and disappointments. [1]

Later life

Following his tenure as general manager of the Mets, Cashen continued working with the team in various capacities, including chief operating officer in 1992 and consultant in 1993. [5] In November 1998, the Mets general manager, Steve Phillips, took time off to address a sexual harassment lawsuit and Cashen was named interim GM for a week. [6] [7]

Cashen was inducted into the New York Mets Hall of Fame [3] on August 1, 2010 alongside Davey Johnson, Dwight Gooden, and Darryl Strawberry. [8] Cashen died on June 30, 2014 from congestive heart failure at the age of 88. Cashen and his wife Jean had seven children. [9] Cashen was noted for frequently wearing a bow tie. [9]

Record as General Manager in Baltimore and New York

TeamYearRegular SeasonPost Season
WonLostWin %FinishResult
BAL 1972 8074.5193rd in AL East-
BAL 1973 9765.5991st in AL EastLost to Oakland Athletics in 1973 ALCS.
BAL 1974 9177.5621st in AL EastLost to Oakland Athletics in 1974 ALCS.
BAL 1975 9069.5662nd in AL East-
BAL Total358285.5572 Playoff Appearances
NYM 1980 6498.3956th in NL East-
NYM 1981 4162.3985th in NL East-
NYM 1982 6597.4016th in NL East-
NYM 1983 6894.4206th in NL East-
NYM 1984 9072.5562nd in NL East
NYM 1985 9864.6052nd in NL East-
NYM 1986 10854.6671st in NL EastDefeated Boston Red Sox in 1986 World Series.
NYM 1987 9270.5682nd in NL East-
NYM 1988 10060.6251st in NL EastLost to Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 NLCS.
NYM 1989 8775.5372nd in NL East-
NYM 1990 9171.5622nd in NL East-
NYM 1991 7784.4785th in NL East-
NYM 1993 410.562Interim GM-
NYM Total11531066.5202 Playoff Appearances, 1 Pennant and 1 World Series title
MLB Total15111351.5284 Playoff Appearances, 1 Pennant and 1 World Series title

Death

Cashen died on June 30, 2014, at the age of 88, after a short illness. [10]

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References

  1. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Pearlman, Jeff (2004). "The Road to 1986". The Bad Guys Won! . HarperCollins. pp.  20–36. ISBN   0-06-050732-2.
  2. Sprechman, Jordan (February 7, 2012). "J. Frank Cashen Archives". New-York Historical Society. Retrieved 1 July 2014.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 Walker, Ben (July 1, 2014) "Manager led Mets to World Series" The Washington Post, page B6; retrieved July 6, 2014
  4. Holtje, Steve. "Davey Johnson". BaseballLibrary.com. Archived from the original on 2006-08-22. Retrieved 2006-08-26.
  5. "Transactions". The New York Times . 1991-09-28. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  6. Murray Chass (1998-11-10). "With No Time to Spare, Cashen Is Returning to the Game". The New York Times. p. D4. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  7. Jason Diamos (1998-11-17). "The Mets Return Phillips To General Manager's Job". The New York Times. p. D1. Retrieved 2006-09-24.
  8. Kaplan, Thomas (August 1, 2010). "Four New Inductees in Mets Hall of Fame". The New York Times. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  9. 1 2 "Former Mets GM Frank Cashen dies at 88". ESPN.com. Associated Press. June 30, 2014. Retrieved July 1, 2014.
  10. Rubin, Adam (June 30, 2014). "Frank Cashen dies at age 88". ESPN.com. Retrieved July 1, 2014.

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Harry Dalton
Baltimore Orioles General Manager
1972–1975
Succeeded by
Hank Peters
Preceded by
Joe McDonald
New York Mets General Manager
1980–1991
1998 (interim)
Succeeded by
Al Harazin
Steve Phillips
Preceded by
John Schuerholz
Sporting News Major League Baseball
Executive of the Year

1986
Succeeded by
Al Rosen