#1

Appreciating Bill Freehan

in Welcome to the Forum ! Wed Aug 23, 2017 10:42 am
by jackky • 23 Posts

Yesterday, I was doing a bit of All-Star Game research. By doing this, I stumbled upon the name of Bill Freehan, and it was surprised to find he started for the American League at catcher for seven straight years. Doing some more digging, I realized he was e sentially the best catcher of whom I'd never heard. The cla sic whole is larger compared to amount of his parts player, there wasnt something that Freehan did poorly.Back dads and moms before the draft, the guidelines for players signing was a bit looser of computer was today, and that allowed Freehan to obtain both an idea from the college life and begin his career early. He visited the University of Michigan for just one year, where he played both baseball and football. However, once the Tigers offered him a $100,000 signing bonus to participate the Steve McNair Jersey pro ranks, he took it even though his father allegedly wouldnt allow him to get it until after he graduated college in 1966. Freehan actually worked his way into four games as a 19-year-old, though he'd spend his age-20 season in Triple-A. That might be it for his minor league career however, as he worked into a platoon role in 63 at the tender age of 21, and when the Tigers traded former Orioles stalwart Gus Triandos to the Phillies following a season, Freehan seized control of the job, and didnt ignore it for 12 seasons.
During that time, Freehan was pretty durable. From 1964-1975, only Joe Torre donned the various tools of ignorance more frequently than did Freehan. He got things started with a bang in 64, when he hit .300/.350/.462, with 18 homers, 14 doubles Byron Bell Jersey and amazingly, eight triples. Since 1947, only six catchers have hit more triples in a season than Freehan did in 64. He would never hit more than five in almost any succe sive season, but he did chip in a few each season, and since 1947 only 16 catchers convey more career triples than Freehans 35. For his troubles in 64, he earned the American League All-Star team because the only reserve catcher, and also placed seventh in the Most Valuable Player Award voting. Quite simply, he'd arrived.
While he regre sed a lot of home plate in 1965, his defense was recognized, as Freehan would win the first of his five consecutive Gold Gloves. When he was awarded his fourth following the 1968 season, it moved him past Sherm Lollar for the all-time lead at the catching position, and no one would pa s him until Jim Sundberg took home his sixth almost 30 years ago. To this day, only four players convey more Gold Gloves as a catcher Ivan Rodriguez, Johnny Bench, Bob Boone and Sundberg although theres a strong po sibility that Yadier Molina also pa ses him in the next couple of years.
His offense didnt pick up any in 66, but he did most of his damage within the first half, called the ALs starter at catcher within the All-Star Game for the first time. He would hold this honor for seven straight seasons until some guy named Carlton Fisk wrestled the distinction from him in Eric Weems Jersey 73. This might not sound like much, but its pretty rare for any player to begin the All-Star Game at the same position for the similar league in a number of consecutive seasons. Only 30 players have ever done this in five or even more consecutive years, and just eight players have done so more than Freehan. Now, it could happen to be a touch easier for Freehan to drag this off thanks to the general dearth of good catchers through the history of the sport, but Freehan was also very clearly the best catcher in the AL in that time period:
PlayerWARBill Freehan28.4Thurman Munson12.5Duke Sims11.3Part of Freehans effectivene s was he did most everything well. In nearly every season of his career, he had above-average walk and strikeout rates. The same is true from a power standpoint, as his ISO was nearly always better than the league average specifically in 1968, as he posted a .191 ISO over a .104 league average. You might remember 68 because the year of the pitcher, but Freehan wasn't intimidated. That season he posted his career bests in homers, ISO and wRC+, and along with Denny McLain, Jim Northrup and Willie Horton helped lead the Tigers to their third World Series triumph. Freehan actually just edged McLain for that team lead in WAR.
Freehan was an a set behind home plate as well. Defensive metrics for Deiontrez Mount Jersey catchers are tricky, but in what we've when compared to other catchers of his era, we see that Freehan ranks one of the better. Exploring the 60s and 70s (1960-1979 to be precise), we find 108 qualified catchers. Among them, Freehans 27 Fld ranks 14th. And while most catchers really are a blight on the bases, Freehan never was a lead weight himself. His -1.2 BsR ranks 107th out of 334 qualified catchers since 1947. Not great actually, and surely not awful.
Overall, Freehan posted 44.8 WAR in his career. Thats adequate for 16th all-time among catchers, and 14th all-time around the Tigers overall Jason McCourty Jersey (best among Tigers catchers, 10th-best among Tigers position players). Freehan also penned a book on catching entitled Behind The Mask, and tutored a minimum of two future big league catchers in Lance Parrish and Mike Matheny, the latter of whom he molded while coaching Michigans baseball team. Thats not just a heck of a career, thats a heck of a life. Freehan may not warrant mention when discu sions use who had been the best catcher of all-time, but he was certainly excellent for a very long time.

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#2

RE: Appreciating Bill Freehan

in Welcome to the Forum ! Thu Aug 24, 2017 6:16 am
by HYst • 84 Posts

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