1.25.2013

Outta Sight! Vintage: Freehan, B. '67

A couple of months ago, while attending a small local baseball card show, I got into a chat with a dealer about Bill Freehan, the longtime Tigers catcher from the '60s and '70s.

As a big Tigers fan, second only to the Reds, Freehan is one of those guys whose cards - particularly playing day cards - I chase. I hope to add a list of wants for him and some others very soon.

Freehan just seemed like a classic, gritty '60s baseball player. I always wished I could have seen him play. I'm sorry to admit that when I first stopped collecting baseball cards in 1983 I'm not sure I had heard of Freehan. I may have remembered seeing his 1976 card in the sacks my grandpa had brought home from a garage sale but otherwise I would have sworn that Lance Parrish was the greatest Tiger catcher to ever live.

It was only since my return to collecting a couple of years ago that I had began delving into the history of the sport and particularly of my favorite teams (Cubs, included).

And, so, I discovered Bill Freehan and began collecting his cards. Here's a favorite.
1967 Freehan
Obviously, posed - during Spring Training, I'm thinking (and someone out there probably knows for sure) - this is just a cool card. Freehan really frames the shot and you've gotta love how the big mitt upfront seems borderline comically large.

What's more, 1967 Topps is among my favorite 1960s designs. I need to get in on the ranking game soon.

Rather than write anything more about Freehan, I'll link to a fine article I read this evening. It highlights another one of Freehan's best cards (which I don't own yet) and details a lot about his fine career and life.  

I learned a couple of interesting things about Freehan from this article but I won't spoil them for those who don't know and want to take a look. It's a fine article.

It was that chat with that dealer at the show a couple of months ago when I learned a third thing, Freehan's present condition, which this article discusses at the end. I was very sad to hear it at the time and hoped it was just more speculation than fact.

But the article confirms it and, suffice to say, not a fitting cap for this good gent's life.

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