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Ralston Cash received some of the best news of his life as a pro baseball player in an unforgettable manner. The 24-year-old Lakeview Academy graduate, also an amateur photographer, was told his picture session of his Double-A manager Ryan Garko’s daughter on her birthday wasn’t going to happen after all.
Not because he didn’t think Cash was good at photography. It was just a matter of the philanthropic-minded pitcher would no longer be in town for the Double-A club of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“He called me in his office and said you’re going up to Triple-A (Oklahoma City),” said Cash, who is from Cornelia. “It was an awesome feeling.
“It just felt like everything is finally coming together.”
Cash uses his platform as a baseball player to try to help others, organizing the Ralston Cash Foundation a couple years ago. The foundation is geared toward delivering Christmas presents to young people who have had a parent die from cancer.
Cash knows every move he makes toward the majors is a platform toward getting the word out for his charity. His trademark is solid-colored T-shirts mimicking his face and curled mustache in white ink.
“The T-shirts are definitely a great conversation starter,” said Cash, who first greeted Oklahoma City teammates wearing one of his foundation shirts.
After struggling with control early in the season, Cash got on track with ‘96 flashing on the gun’, which he credits to focusing on breathing and an emphasis on understanding the psychology involved in playing professional baseball.
A hard-throwing right-hander, Cash has found his home as a short reliever in late innings as he’s now at the highest level of the Los Angeles Dodgers’ minor league system. A second-round pick in 2010 out of Lakeview Academy, he has made an immediate impact with Oklahoma City, pitching twice in relief for an inning each time out without allowing a hit.
In his second outing for the Triple-A farm club, Cash pitched around a jam July 22 with two New Orleans Zephyrs (Miami Marlins’ Triple-A Club) in scoring position in the seventh inning. Then he got through the eighth inning without allowing a hit before exiting the game on Oklahoma City’s home Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. Just for kicks, he warms up to Aerosmith’s 1980s hit single ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady’, his handpicked not-so-subtle reference to his long flowing hair.
His first outing at Triple-A, came against Tacoma Rainiers (Seattle Mariners organization) with an inning of hitless relief.
Right after the game, he got a taste of the quick turnaround of playing in Triple-A. There was a bus ride, overnight flight back to the midwest and game the next day.
All the travel for the heavily-tattooed, long-haired Cash isn’t viewed as a nuisance. It’s just part of the professional baseball schedule he’ll have to grow to love should he be called up to the Los Angeles Dodgers, which is a very real possibility at this point in his six-year professional career.
Through an extended baseball network of friends — minor league and big leagues — Cash has been able to spread the word quite well about his fundraising efforts. His close friends Corey Seagers (shortstop for the Los Angeles Dodgers) and fellow mustache-aficionado Daniel Mengden (pitcher for Oakland Athletics) are already rocking the Ralston Cash Foundation T-shirts.
Cash tries to wear his foundation T-shirts every day — about 8 or 9 to choose from — to help make players and fans alike aware of his mission.
“It definitely makes packing easier,” said Cash.
Last season, Cash said after playing against Northwest Arkansas, Double-A Kansas City Royals club, it ordered 19 Ralston Cash Foundation shirts after seeing the unique design. In 2015, the Ralston Cash Foundation raised $10,000 for its cause and benefitted ‘17 or 18 children’, according to Cash. After the cost of screen printing, Cash said all proceeds go toward the charity and putting smiles on the faces of kids who have suffered a tragic loss.
Around the ballpark, Cash said he works in as much time interacting with young fans as possible. He signs autographs.
Cash takes countless pictures with his youngest admirers. He never wants anyone to lose sight of the fact that baseball is supposed to be fun.
“Sometimes we don’t remember how much the kids look up to us,” said Cash.