YES WE CAN? Wait, I’ve Heard That Before

No matter what side of the political spectrum you sit on, you have to admit, Tuesday’s election of Barack Obama was historic.  The campaign certainly had its front page moments.  And, like every political season, the slogans were flying. Obama adopted YES WE CAN.  It caught on, but it wasn’t original. 

You have to go back more than thirty years when another African-American started using the line. But he wasn’t running for president.  He was an All-Star second baseman named Dave Cash. Cash was the Philadelphia Phillies YES WE CAN man. Just ask any Philadelphian in their early forties or older, and they’ll probably remember the catch phrase. He wore the slogan on T-shirts and the team actually used it (as pictured below) as their unofficial team battle-cry.  

The Phillies made YES WE CAN their battle cry in 1976 -- and Dave Cash coined it.

The Phillies made YES WE CAN their battle cry in 1976 -- and Dave Cash coined it.

The YES WE CAN man, Dave Cash

The YES WE CAN man, Dave Cash

You see, the Phillies were pretty awful until Cash showed up from the rival Pirates in 1974.  It was Cash who brought a winning attitude into the locker room. This fuzzy faced team with emerging stars like Greg Luzinski, Larry Bowa, and Bob Boone began to believe in themselves.  Oh yeah, they also had a couple of Hall of Famers in the making named Steve Carlton and Mike Schmidt. 

By 1976, the Phillies finally made the post season after 26 years of PHrustration, and the town caught Phillies Fever.  A song was recorded with the YES WE CAN man leading the way.  Have a listen, its wonderfully terrible, and undeniably 70’s.

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I was told once “Nothing is original. There are no new ideas.”  I’ve never completely believed that. If its true, does anyone have an actual date when all original ideas ran out?  How about, May 12, 1996? There, I just made that up…maybe that thought is original. 

One thing that wasn’t original? The use of YES WE CAN by the Obama campaign.  Credit goes to David Cash Jr.

2 Responses to “YES WE CAN? Wait, I’ve Heard That Before”

  1. Jim Says:

    Tom,

    Great point about YES WE CAN being coined by Dave Cash. I’m the same age as B Obama and remember the 76 team which coexisted with Rocky I. B Obama likes to point out he was only 8 years old when Bill Ayers was setting off bombs in the USA. What he didn’t mention was he was only 16 years old when Dave Cash coined his campaign slogan.

    Thanks For the Memories!

    Jim

  2. angelo Says:

    The back of the record jacket is interesting to say the least—are these Phillies stars peeing against a wall or something?