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Hersh Freeman

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Hershell Baskin Freeman (Buster or Bud)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Before the 1948 season the Boston Red Sox signed Hersh Freeman as an amateur free agent and the 19 year old right-hander would spend this season with the class C Natchez Indians of the Cotton States League going 18-9 with a 2.35 ERA. Hersh would spend the next four seasons in the minors (1949-52) before the Red Sox would give him a short look at the tail end of the '52 year. He would get into four games, pitch 13 innings win one game and have a 3.29 ERA. He would go back to the minors for the 1953 season to the AAA Louisville Colonels and go 4-4 with a 3.33 ERA, get another look by the Red Sox and go 1-4 with a 5.54 ERA.

Hersh would spend the 1954 season with the Louisville Colonels win 7 and lose 5 and 1955 would see the big right-hander briefly with the Red Sox and on May 10, the Bo-Sox would sell him to the Cincinnati Reds for an undisclosed amount of cash. Freeman played 1/3 inning at third base on June 3 for the 1955 Redlegs. Freeman was relieved by Joe Nuxhall with two outs in the bottom of the sixth, but instead of leaving the game he moved to third base, replacing Bobby Adams, while Nuxhall retired Dale Long. Freeman returned to the mound in the bottom of the seventh with Rocky Bridges taking over at third.

Freeman would become the ace of the Reds bullpen from 1955 to 1957, with his 2.12 ERA in '55 the best of any National League reliever. He would also have 14 wins and 18 saves in 1956. In a game in May of 1956 Johnny Klippstein and Freeman no-hit the Braves through nine innings before Joe Black lost it in the eleventh.

Hersh would win 7 and lose 2, primarily in relief in 1957, and was working toward another good season in 1958 when a shoulder injury hit him and he was traded by the Reds to the Chicago Cubs for Turk Lown. Hersh appeared in only 12 games with a 0-1 record for the year. The injury caused his last trip to the mound in the majors and his career ended with a record of 30-16 plus 37 saves and a 3.74 ERA.

Freeman had spent eleven seasons in pro baseball, 1948 to 1958 and during this time he had spent several periods in the minors where he had a built a 72-45 record in 288 appearances with a 4.20 ERA. After scouting and managing for the Cincinnati Reds organization for a few years, Freeman was with the Orange County, Florida Youth Commission as a counselor and supervisor at a home for delinquent youngsters. He also returned to the University of Alabama earning a degree in education, and became a teacher and the baseball coach at Colonial High School in Orlando, FL. He later became the supervisor for health and custodial services at the school.

Freeman died at his home at the age of 76 on July 17, 2004 in Orlando, FL.

Managing Career

Year League Team W L Pct GB Managers
1961 South Atlantic Columbia Reds 70 65 .519 16 Ted Beard / Hersh Freeman
1962 Carolina Rocky Mount Leafs 60 80 .429 29 Hersh Freeman / Jack Cassini
1962 Florida State Tampa Tarpons 66 54 .550 4.5 Johnny Vander Meer / Hersh Freeman
1963 Florida State Tampa Tarpons 49 71 .408 30 Hersh Freeman

[edit] Sources
Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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