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The Detroit Tigers are in mourning with the passing of legendary catcher Bill Freehan.
Freehan spent his entire 15-year big-league career with the Tigers. He signed with is hometown Tigers after a remarkable career playing baseball and football for the Michigan Wolverines. His Big Ten batting average of .585 from 1961 remains a conference record. Freehan was an 11-time AL All-Star in Detroit, won five Gold Gloves and helped guide the Tigers to a World Series title in 1968.
Michigan and Detroit are in mourning over the loss of Freehan, an absolute icon behind the plate.
Detroit Tigers, Michigan Wolverines legend Bill Freehan passes away at 79
From 1964 to 1973, Freehan represented the American League behind the plate each year in the Midsummer Classic. Beginning in 1964 and throughout the rest of the decade, Freehan was a perennial MVP candidate behind the plate for the Tigers. He won all five of his Gold Gloves during that span, finishing in the top three in AL MVP voting in back-to-back seasons in 1967 and 1968.
Though his numbers at the plate have kept him out of Cooperstown, one would think that Freehan’s passing may make the National Baseball Hall of Fame reconsider him for induction on future veterans ballots. It would probably help if the Tigers found a way to retire his number or something like that. The No. 11 jersey has already been retired for skipper Sparky Anderson.
Our condolences go out to Freehan’s family, the Tigers organization and the Michigan Wolverines.