Brian Cashman may be the best general manager in MLB history. He’s one of the architects of the Yankee dynasty that won five World Series titles in less than 15 years. When interviewed, Cashman seems like a serious professional. But that’s not always the case when he’s away from the press. Cashman may also be the biggest jokester in the league. You’ll never guess the pranks he’s pulled on Yankees players and staff.
Brian Cashman, Yankees general manager
Cashman’s Yankee career began in 1986 when he became an intern for the team. He got a permanent position with the storied franchise as a baseball operations assistant after he graduated from college. From there, Cashman continued to earn promotions. He became the assistant general manager in 1992. In 1998, he ascended to the GM role after Bob Watson resigned.
Since Cashman became the GM in 1998, the Yankees have won the AL East 13 times and missed the playoffs just four times. Despite several injuries to key players this season, the Yankees still finished 33-27. They made the playoffs as a wild card and made it to the AL Division Series after sweeping the Indians in the wild card series.
Cashman, the Yankees prankster
Cashman has a reputation in baseball for being a top-notch prankster, as the New York Times describes. Jim Hendry, a former Cubs general manager who’s a special assistant scout with the Yankees, calls Cashman “one of the best at it.” Special adviser Reggie Jackson says, “He’s always trying something.”
Cashman says he does it to “lighten the load” of a long baseball season and because he “just like[s] to have fun.” His mischievous streak dates back to college. He recalls one of his earliest pranks with the Yankees coming when he was the assistant GM.
The Marlins had a managerial opening at the time. Cashman called his mentor Gene Michael from a blocked number and disguised his voice. He pretended to be a Miami Herald reporter and told then-Yankees scout Michael that he was on the Marlins’ shortlist.
Cashman says Michael fell for it “hook, line, and sinker.” Michael told the alleged supporter “off the record” that he be interested in the position. When Cashman began laughing, Michael knew it was a prank.
In terms of players, Cashman drafted a pretend IRS letter during Mariano Rivera’s final season. The letter claimed that Rivera’s charity owed an “astronomical” payment to the agency. And Cashman recalls Nick Swisher racing up and down the hallways after thinking he won $50,000 on a scratch-off lottery ticket. It was a prank ticket given to the outfielder.
Cashman plays with a flatulence machine
Cashman is known for using a flatulence machine with some of his pranks. He used to have a cheap machine that produced fake flatulence. But assistant GM Jean Afterman once gave him an upgraded model. She dubbed it the “Fartmaster 4000.”
Cashman once placed it in the visiting players’ lounge at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park during the 2009 World Series. Former Yankees assistant GM Billy Eppler says Cashman had the remote with him in an adjacent room as he watched the players. When he felt everyone was in a serious mood he hit the button and unleashed a fart.
Cashman gets a taste of his own medicine
The GM isn’t immune to being pranked himself. Afterman says she pranked Cashman years ago with a fake waiver claim for a player who the franchise owed a lot of money. And former Yankee manager Joe Girardi claims he “always” got the boss back for his pranks. (He wouldn’t elaborate on what he did to Cashman.)