Gene Freese

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Gene Freese
Gene Freese 1960.jpg
Third baseman
Born: (1934-01-08)January 8, 1934
Wheeling, West Virginia
Died: June 18, 2013(2013-06-18) (aged 79)
Metairie, Louisiana
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
April 13, 1955, for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Last MLB appearance
September 3, 1966, for the Houston Astros
MLB statistics
Batting average.254
Home runs115
Runs batted in432
Teams

Eugene Lewis "Gene" Freese (January 8, 1934 – June 18, 2013), was an American professional baseball third baseman, who was widely noted as a journeyman. Freese played in Major League Baseball for the Pittsburgh Pirates (twice), St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox (twice), Cincinnati Reds, and Houston Astros, for 12 seasons (19551966).[1]

Freese’s career batting average stands at .254, in 1,115 games played, with 432 runs batted in (RBI). During his playing days, he was listed as 5 feet 11 inches (1.80 m) tall, weighing 175 pounds (79 kg); Freese batted and threw right-handed.[1] He was nicknamed "Augie", as a Pirate rookie, in 1955, by teammates, (named) after umpire Augie Donatelli, who was calling balls and strikes in Freese's first big league game.

Early life[edit]

Freese was a native of Wheeling, West Virginia. He signed with the Pirates in 1953 and played for 17 seasons in professional baseball.

Baseball career[edit]

Despite his well-traveled resumé, Freese was an important cog on the 1961 National League (NL) champion Reds. Acquired in an off-season interleague deal with the White Sox, he reached career highs in home runs (26), RBI (87) and games played (152 — 151 of which were at third base), as Cincinnati won its first pennant since 1940.[1] In the 1961 World Series, won by the New York Yankees in five games, Freese batted only .063 (1-for-16) and was the victim of one of two spectacular defensive plays by his third-base counterpart, Clete Boyer, in the Series opener.

The following year, Freese broke an ankle during a spring training intrasquad game[2] and missed almost the entire 1962 season. He never regained his 1961 form, although he stayed in MLB through 1966. Freese’s 877 major league hits included 161 doubles, 28 triples and 115 home runs.[1] He led NL third basemen in errors in 1957 and 1959.

In 1959, as a member of the Phillies, Freese caused a sensation by slugging five pinch hit home runs in a six-week period, between April 18 and May 31. He fell one short of the record of six pinch homers set by Johnny Frederick of Brooklyn, in 1932. Freese didn't get the opportunity to tie or exceed Frederick's mark because Freese became the Phils' starting third baseman, after the trade of Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones, on June 6, and Freese only pinch hit twice more during the entire 1959 campaign. He led MLB in grand slam home runs that season with three, including one of his pinch homers.

Freese died on June 18, 2013, in Metairie, Louisiana.[3] His older brother, George, briefly played Major League Baseball and was a longtime scout and Minor League Baseball (MiLB) manager.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "Gene Freese Stats". Baseball-Reference.com. Sports Reference LLC. 2019. Retrieved May 30, 2019.
  2. ^ Freese sidelined by broken ankle
  3. ^ Former New Orleans baseball player Gene Freese dies at age 79

External links[edit]