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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. The 19-year-old righthander spent that season with the class C Natchez Indians of the Cotton States League, going 18-9 with a 2.35 ERA. Hersh then spent the next four seasons in the minors (1949-1952) before the Red Sox gave him a short look at the tail end of the 1952 season. He got into four games, pitched 13 innings, won one game - a complete game in his first career start - and had a 3.29 ERA. He went back to the minors for the 1953 season, to the AAA Louisville Colonels, and went 4-4 with a 3.33 ERA; He got another look by the Red Sox and went 1-4 with a 5.54 ERA.

Hersh spent the 1954 season with Louisville, winning 7 and losing 5, and 1955 saw the big righthander briefly with the Red Sox before on May 10th, he was sold to the Cincinnati Redlegs. Freeman played a third of an inning at third base on June 3rd for the Redlegs. Freeman was relieved by Joe Nuxhall with two outs in the bottom of the 6th, 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 7th with Rocky Bridges taking over at third base.

Freeman became the ace of the Redlegs' bullpen from 1955 to 1957, with his 2.12 ERA in 1955 the best of any National League reliever. He also had 14 wins and 18 saves in 1956. In a game in May of 1956, Johnny Klippstein and Freeman no-hit the Milwaukee Braves through nine innings before Joe Black lost the no-hitter in the 11th.

Hersh won 7 and lost 2, primarily in relief, in 1957, and was working toward another good season in 1958 when a shoulder injury hit him. He was traded 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 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

Baseball-Reference.com
Encyclopedia of Minor League Baseball: Third Edition
Baseball Players of the 1950s
SABR MILB Database:page

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