Robert L. Freels
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 200 lb.
Pitcher Bob Freels began his professional career with a tremendous season with the Belleville Stags of the Indiana State League, a St. Louis Browns affiliate, in 1947 when he went 19-2 with a 2.15 ERA. He made his way up the Browns chain in the following seasons, and continued to win a lot more than he lost, going 13-9 between three teams in 1948; 14-7 for the Wichita Falls Spudders of the Big State League in 1949; and 12-10 with the same team in 1950. His ERAs were relatively high those last two seasons, at 3.92 and 3.68, but this was in an extreme hitters league. In 1951, he led the Central League in winning percentage when he was 17-5, 2.95 for the Dayton Indians. Late that season, he got a promotion to the San Antonio Missions of the Texas League, pitching 4 games (he had also pitched 2 games for San Antonio in 1948). Now only a step away from the major leagues at 24, he saw his career come to a crashing halt in 1952 when he was unable to retire a batter in his lone appearance for San Antonio, presumably victim of an arm injury.
Freels went into umpiring after that and it was in this capacity that he eventually made it to the big leagues, as a replacement umpire in the National League when the regular umpires went on strike at the start of the 1979 season. He worked a total of 8 games during the labor conflict.