Detroit Tigers World Series championship catcher Bill Freehan dies at age 79

11-time All-Star played on 1968 World Series team

Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan in 1972. (Getty Images)
Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan in 1972. (Getty Images)

DETROITBill Freehan, the catcher for the Detroit Tigers during the 1968 World Series championship, has died at the age of 79, the team announced.

Freehan played all 15 of his MLB seasons with the Tigers from 1961-1976, making 11 All-Star games and winning five Gold Glove awards.

In 1,774 career games, Freehan hit .262 with a .340 on-base percentage, 200 home runs and 241 doubles.

“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,” the team said in a statement. “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.”

Here is a statement from Freehan’s teammate, Willie Horton:

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.”


About the Author:

Derick is a Senior Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit and has been with Local 4 News since April 2013. Derick specializes in breaking news, crime and local sports.