Ever since high school, when I’ve watched the baseball postseason, I have a printout of the active roster of each team.
When each player played, even for an at bat or a pinch running appearance, I would highlight them. Ideally each player would play in each round but at least get in once. It almost seems unfair to be on a postseason roster and not get your name into an October box score.
In 2007, the Red Sox were in the post season. They decided to carry an extra catcher for the Division Series. They had Jason Varitek starting and Doug Mirabelli catching for Tim Wakefield. Just in case of emergency, Kevin Cash was put on the roster.
I wanted to see Kevin Cash get into the game.
Now my desire to see that had little to do with seeing a beloved Red Sox legend get his due. Cash had only played in 12 games for the Red Sox that year. We went 3 for 27 for a .111 average. It was hard to argue that Cash was the difference in the AL East race.
But I loved seeing that page highlighted from top to bottom. Maybe it had to do with my time riding the bench in high school. It meant so much just to get into a game that when I did, I was on a high.
I can imagine it was so much more for the players on the bench.
It was clear that Cash would not be on the ALCS roster if the Red Sox got that far.
Boston took the first two games of the Division Series from the Angels and looked to make quick work in Game 3.
The Red Sox rallied and were up 9-1 in the top of the 9th. David Ortiz’s spot came up. Terry Francona went to the bench and called for Eric Hinske, whose name I highlighted.
In the bottom of the 9th, Varitek was still the catcher. I remember thinking “Too bad for Kevin Cash. He could have pinch hit or caught the last inning.”
He didn’t. He was indeed taken off the roster. The Red Sox would go on to win the World Series. His page on Baseball Reference does not show him playing in the post season. The same fate fell for Kyle Snyder, a reliever who did not get into a game.
The next season, Cash took over Mirabelli’s role as Wakefield’s personal catcher. In the post season, Cash made an appearance in the Division Series and hit a homer in the ALCS. That made up for his exclusion in 2007 a little bit in my eyes.
He joined his Boston manager Terry Francona in Cleveland as a coach. Then, after the 2014 season, he was named Tampa Bay manager.
He received a 5 year contract which seemed off because he had never managed at any level when he had the impossible job of replacing Joe Maddon. The Rays finished barely under .500 in 2015 his first year, 80-82. A 94 loss season his second year reflected a depleted team.
But they contended for the Wild Card for much of 2017. The Rays have young talent and a bright young mind leading the team.
Who knows? Maybe he will MANAGE his way to the World Series and I won’t have to worry about that time I couldn’t highlight his name.