Steve Demeter, possibly best known for being traded to the Cleveland Indians from the Detroit Tigers straight up for young slugging first baseman Norm Cash, passes away. He was 78 years old.
Demeter had logged just eleven games of work and a .111 average with the Tigers in 1959 when Indians general manager Frank “Trader” Lane arranged the trade in the days leading up to the 1960 season with Detroit. Cash had been acquired by the Indians earlier in the offseason as part of a seven-player trade with the White Sox that saw Minnie Minoso return to Chicago.
He appeared in just four games and registered five hitless plate appearances with Cleveland while never returning to the Majors after, despite playing eleven more years in the minors. Cash, meanwhile, was an All-Star by 1961, slugging 41 homers, driving in 132 runs, and leading the league in hits (193), batting average (.361), on-base percentage (.487), and intentional walks (19). He would hit 373 homers in his Tigers career as their every day first baseman.
Demeter was elected to the International League Hall of Fame in 2009. Just over three months after his death, his grandson (and northeast Ohio native) Derek Dietrich made his Major League debut with the Miami Marlins.