Friday, February 19, 2010

The Catcher Project: Bill Freehan

Born: 11-29-41
Career: 1961-1976
Hall of Fame: No
Career highlights: Spent entire career with Detroit Tigers. Second in MVP voting in 1968, when Tigers won the World Series; third in 1967. Made 11 All-Star teams, won four consecutive Gold Gloves.
Lifetime slash numbers: .262/.340/.412.

Games caught after age 30 season: 335. Age in last season as regular catcher: 33. Win shares age 30 and on: 75. Win shares after age 33: 20.

Bill Freehan's not in the Hall of Fame largely because he was unwise enough to center his career in the high-mound era of the 1960s. A secondary reason may be that just as his star was brightest, Johnny Bench emerged in the other league. And he is the most marginal of the 14 catchers in this study.

Freehan's last season as a regular catcher was in 1975 at age 33, but that followed a season in which he split time between catching and first base.

And the difference — in 1974, he hit .297/.361./.479. In 1975, .246/.306/.398. That was followed by a season as a reserve catcher, followed by the end of his playing days.

As a starting catcher, Freehan's offense fell off the cliff in his early 30s.


  1. bill freehan should be in the hall recently chosen as best catcher of the 1960's played entire career with tigers good guy and was a team guy good character

    eric burns

  2. Freehan does belong in the Hall. 11 time All Star & 5 Gold Gloves is pretty impressive. Best catcher of the decade. Decent bat, also.