Bill Freehan Biography – Bill Freehan Wiki
Bill Freehan (born William Ashley Freehan) was an American professional baseball player. He played his entire 15-year Major League Baseball career as a catcher for the Detroit Tigers. A five-time Gold Glove winner, Freehan also had 200 home runs and 1,592 career hits. He was an 11-time All-Star and a key member of the Tigers’ 1968 World Series championship team.
Born in Detroit and raised in Royal Oak, Freehan was a two-sport student-athlete at the University of Michigan before the Tigers signed him for a $125,000 bonus in 1961. Two years later, he was behind the plate in Detroit, home for his entire 15-year Major League career.
Freehan was a .300 hitter and an All-Star as a 22-year-old in 1964, and began a run of five consecutive Gold Glove Awards the following year. His offense blossomed along with the team around him. He hit 20 home runs to go with 74 RBIs in ’67, when the Tigers took the American League pennant race to the season’s finale day, and 25 homers with 84 RBIs during the Tigers’ run to destiny in ’68.
Though McLain was a unanimous choice for AL MVP on the strength of his 31 wins in 1968, Freehan finished second in voting after placing third the year before. He was on the receiving end when Horton famously threw out Lou Brock at home plate in Game 5, and caught the popout Lolich induced from Tim McCarver to close out Game 7 before Lolich leapt into his arms.
Freehan caught 1,581 games in a Tigers uniform, more than 500 more than anyone else in franchise history. His five Gold Gloves rank fifth among catchers in Major League history and second only to Kaline for Detroit players at any position. His 10,714 chances, 9,941 putouts and .993 fielding percentage topped the all-time list for Major League catchers when he retired.
After a head coaching stint back at Michigan, Freehan rejoined the Tigers as a catching instructor from 2002-05 before retiring to his home in suburban Detroit.
Bill Freehan Age
Bill Freehan was born on November 29, 1941, in Detroit, Michigan. He died on August 19, 2021, in Walloon Lake, Michigan. He was 79.
Bill Freehan Wife
Who is Bill Freehan’s wife? On February 23, 1963, Bill Freehan married Patricia O’Brien, his high school sweetheart from St. Petersburg and the sister of St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Dan O’Brien (1978–1979).
Bill Freehan Children
Bill Freehan and his wife, Pat Freehan, have three daughters: Corey Sue, Kelley, and Cathy. His grandson, Blaise Salter, was a Tigers Draft pick in 2015 and a first baseman in the farm system until he retired in ’18.
Bill Freehan Family
William Ashley Freehan was born on November 29, 1941, in Detroit. He was the eldest son of Ashley Freehan, a sales representative for a seat insulation company, and Helen Morris Freehan.
Bill Freehan Death
Bill Freehan passed away on August 19th, 2021, at the age of 79 after a lengthy battle with dementia, the Detroit Tigers announced. The club tweeted: “We mourn the passing of Bill Freehan, who spent all 15 years of his career wearing the Olde English ‘D’. He was an 11-time All Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, 1968 World Series Champion and impactful community leader.”
The Tigers also released the following statement:
“It’s with a heavy heart that all of us with the Detroit Tigers extend our condolences to the friends and family of Bill Freehan. An all-time great Tiger, the Olde English ‘D’ was the only logo he wore over his 15-year Major League career, during which he was named to 11 All-Star teams, won five-straight Gold Glove awards and played a key role on the 1968 World Series Championship team. Off the diamond, Freehan made a positive impact in the southeast Michigan community, including as a player and then coach at the University of Michigan, where he changed the lives of many for the better. Our thoughts are with Bill’s wife, Pat, and the entire Freehan family.”
Bill Freehan’s former teammate and lifelong friend Willie Horton released the following statement through the club:
“Bill Freehan was one of the greatest men I’ve ever played alongside, or had the pleasure of knowing. I’ll always cherish our childhood memories together and our journey from sandlot baseball to Tiger Stadium. His entire Major League career was committed to the Tigers and the city of Detroit, and he was one of the most respected and talented members of the organization through some difficult yet important times throughout the 1960s and 70s. You’d be hard-pressed to find another athlete that had a bigger impact on his community over the course of his life than Bill, who will be sorely missed in Detroit and beyond.”
Bill Freehan Cause of Death
According to the Detroit Free Press, Freehan had been battling Alzheimer’s Disease. His wife, Pat, took care of him at home with help from hospice care.
Bill Freehan Health
Former Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan had suffered from dementia for several years, spending the last few under hospice care in his northern Michigan home. Bill Freehan’s health condition kept him out of the public spotlight over the past several years. His wife attended the Tigers’ 1968 reunion in September 2018 on his behalf.
“He was consistently, in my opinion, the best player I played with for a long period of time,” Al Kaline said in 2018 as he prepared for the 50th anniversary of the 1968 team. “There were some guys that had better years than him, but I’m talking about a long period of time. His name is not mentioned, and his name should be out there on the wall, in my opinion.”
Bill Freehan Net Worth
Bill Freehan’s net worth is estimated to be $2 million.