Wednesday, December 15, 2010
#397 - Bill Freehan
Card fact: This is the only Topps card in Bill Freehan's career in which he is not listed exclusively as a catcher. The 1974 season was the only one in which Freehan played more games at a position other than catcher. He played 65 at first base and 63 beind the plate.
What I thought about this card then: Me no see. The first card of his I saw was his 1976 Topps card.
What I think about this card now: I have never known how to pronounce Freehan's name. I've always pronounced it "Free-HAN," which I suspect is wrong.
Other stuff: Freehan was born in Detroit, played his whole career with the Tigers, and was both a solid hitter and a record-setting fielder. All of those ingredients made him a hero among Tigers fans. He has but two transactions in his entire 15-year career. He signed with the Tigers in 1961 and was released by the Tigers in 1976.
Freehan was an 11-time all-star. His best seasons came in 1967 and 1968, when he was third and second, respectively, in A.L. MVP voting. He set a number of records for fielding, and caught more games than any other player in Tigers history. He ended his career ninth all-time in MLB history in total games caught.
After his career, Freehan did some broadcasting, then became the University of Michigan baseball coach in the 1990s.
Back facts: I learned about the term "hitting with your foot in the bucket" by reading a story as a young teenager about Al Simmons and the Philadelphia A's famous 1929 World Series comeback against the Cubs. It's been a long time since I ever heard any one mention a major leaguer as hitting with their foot in the bucket. I'm sure the coaches clean that right up these days.
Other blog stuff: On this date in 1975, "Young Frankenstein" was released. "Roll, roll, roll in ze hay!"