William Ashley Freehan
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 2", Weight 205 lb.
- School University of Michigan
- High School Royal Oak (MI) High School
- Debut September 26, 1961
- Final Game October 3, 1976
- Born November 29, 1941 in Detroit, MI USA
Bill Freehan was one of the top catchers of his era. He played his whole major league career with the Detroit Tigers, excelling in both hitting and fielding. He won five Gold Gloves and was an All-Star eleven times. He was once second in the MVP voting and once third.
Freehan's stats are more impressive than they look, because he played during the second dead-ball era. For instance, in 1968 when the American League hit .230, Freehan's .263 was only eleven points away from the tenth best batter in the league. In 1967, his .282 average was ninth in the AL, and his .300 in 1964 was sixth in the AL.
He was also a master in getting hit by the pitch, leading the league three times.
In terms of similarity scores, none of the most similar players are in the Hall of Fame. The most similar player is Darrell Porter, whose OPS+ at 113 is one point higher than that of Freehan. On the other hand, Porter was clearly not as prominent defensively and was not in as many All-Star games. Also, similarity scores do not adjust for era, which hurts Freehan.
He was the head coach at the University of Michigan from 1990 to 1995. He had attended Michigan in 1961, the year that the Tigers signed him. After retirement he served as president of an automobile manufacturers representative agency and was a commentator on Tigers television broadcasts in 1984 and 1985. From 2002 to 2005, he was a coaching instructor in the Tigers' organization.
- 11-time AL All-Star (1964-1973 & 1975)
- 5-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1965-1969)
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1967, 1968 & 1971)
- Won a World Series with the Detroit Tigers in 1968
- Starting catcher for 325 of Mickey Lolich's starts, a record for any pair. Second are Del Crandall and Warren Spahn, with 318.
- Trey Strecker: "Bill Freehan", in Mark Pattison and David Raglin, ed.: Detroit Tigers 1984: What A Start! What A Finish!, SABR Publications, Phoenix, AZ, 2012, pp. 209-212. ISBN 1933599448