Freddie Freeman

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Frederick Charles Freeman

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Biographical Information[edit]

Freddie Freeman was signed by the Atlanta Braves and scout Tom Battista as a 2nd round pick in the 2007 amateur draft.

After making his major league debut in September of 2010 with the Atlanta Braves, Freeman was the Braves' starting first baseman on opening day on March 31, 2011. It was the third straight year that the Braves had put a rookie in their line-up on opening day, following Jordan Schafer in 2009 and Jason Heyward in 2010; the two were also making their major league debuts on the occasion, contrary to Freeman, and both hit home runs to start off their major league careers. In contrast, Freeman went hitless in three at-bats against the Washington Nationals' Livan Hernandez. However, he quickly settled into his starting role and was a key part of the Braves' offense as they kept pace within a few games of the Philadelphia Phillies and of first place in the NL East. He was named the National league's Rookie of the month for July, when he hit .362/.433/.600 in 27 games; he hit six homers and drove in 18 runs while scoring 17. He had his first multi-homer game on July 4th facing the Colorado Rockies at Turner Field. He finished the season with a batting line of .282/.346/.448 in 157 games, with 21 homers and 76 RBI, although he did not make the 2011 Topps All-Star Rookie Team, losing out to Mark Trumbo of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim.

In 2012, Freeman's batting average fell in comparison to his rookie season, although the rest of his numbers stood and he continued as the Braves' regular first baseman. He played 147 games, hitting .259 but his OBP was at .340 and his slugging percentage at .456, so his OPS+ was almost unchanged 113 compared to 116 the previous season, He hit 23 homers and drove in 93 runs as the Braves won one of two wild card berths in the National League. He went 3 for 4 with a double and a walk as Atlanta's best hitter in its loss to the St. Louis Cardinals in the Wild Card Game. Back as the starter at first base for the Braves in 2013, he suffered the first injury of his career in early April, a strained oblique muscle which forced him to go on the disabled list. He was not happy at the turn of events, complaining that the injury was only "a two-day thing" and that he would now need to miss 15 games because of his team's decision. However, in spite of the time missed, he was the Braves' most consistent hitter during the first half, and while he was not originally picked for the All-Star team, he won the "Final Man Vote" against four other players to be added to the squad. What made it more remarkable is that he beat out rookie Yasiel Puig, who had had a sensational debut and had been the most talked-about player in the majors for the month that preceded the vote, while Freeman had produced steadily but quietly. He was hitting .307 at the time of his selection, and although he had hit only 9 homers, he had 18 doubles, 49 runs scored and 37 RBI, all three totals putting him on a pace to set new personal bests. He celebrated by driving in four runs in a 6-5 win over the Cincinnati Reds on the day of his election, July 11th. However, he suffered a jammed thumb in the last game before the break, on July 13th, and had to give way to teammate Brian McCann on the National League squad. He finished the year with an excellent batting line of .319/.396/.501 in 147 games, good for an OPS+ of 144. He had 23 homers and 109 RBIs, then went 5 for 16 with a double and 4 runs scored as the Braves lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the NLDS. He was 5th in voting for the 2013 NL MVP behind Andrew McCutchen, Paul Goldschmidt, Yadier Molina and Matt Carpenter.

Freeman was eligible for arbitration for the first time before the 2014 season but the Braves preempted a decision by inking him to the largest deal in franchise history on February 5th, an eight-year contract worth $135 million. He played all 162 games for the Braves that season, hitting .288 with 43 doubles and 18 homers; he scored 93 runs and drove in 78 and had an OPS+ of 137. he was named to the All-Star team for the second straight year. His consecutive games played streak reached 234 games before he was taken out of the game of June 17, 2015 against the Boston Red Sox with a sprained wrist. he had hurt the wrist a few days earlier and had tried to play through the pain. He was having another very solid season at the plate, with a .303 average, 12 homers, and 41 RBIs in his first 65 games. The initial prognosis was that he would be back quickly, but that turned out to be wrong, as the injury kept him out until July 25th. More injury trouble followed two weeks later, as he returned to the DL on August 4th, this time with a strained oblique muscle. He was back on August 19th and played regularly until the end of the season, but the injuries limited him to 118 games, during which he hit .276 with 18 homers and 66 RBIs.

2016 turned out to be a very frustrating season for the Braves and Freeman, who by now were in full rebuilding mode and losing games by the bushel-load as a result. Freddie was one of a tiny number of star players left on the team and he started the year slowly, as after homering on opening day, he did not connect for a long ball again until April 27th, a situation made more visible by the fact nobody else on the team was hitting for power either. His batting average had fallen as low as .177 on April 24th before he began to turn things around to some extent. He had a rare highlight on June 15th when he became the first player in the majors to hit for the cycle that season, as the Braves beat the Cincinnati Reds, 9-8, in 13 innings. Mark Kotsay had been the last Braves player to accomplish the rare feat, back in 2008. He continued to hit well over the following games, as the Braves had their best stretch of the season. On June 19th, he matched a career-high with four hits in a 6-0 win over the New York Mets that completed a three-game sweep at Citi Field. The Braves played noticeably better over the second half, and Freddie was their offensive leader, putting together a 30-game hitting streak from August 24-September 28, the longest in the majors that season. That left him three games shy of the Atlanta record set by Dan Uggla in 2011; it was also part of a streak of 42 games in which he had reached base safely. Not surprisingly, he was named the NL Player of the Month for September on the strength of a .367 average, 7 homers and 25 RBIs. He finished the season at .302 with 43 doubles and 34 homers, 102 runs and 91 RBIs, excellent numbers in light of his slow start.

While Freeman was born and grew up in California, he decided to suit up for Team Canada at the 2017 World Baseball Classic. He explained that he wanted to do so in tribute to his late mother, who was born and grew up in Ontario, but passed away from cancer when Freddie was only 10. At the start of the 2017 season, he was leading the National League in home runs with 14 when on May 17th, he was hit by a pitch from Aaron Loup of the Toronto Blue Jays and suffered a broken left wrist, putting him out of action for two months. He was also hitting .341 with a league-leading OPS of 1.209 in 37 games at the time of the injury. By the time he began rehabbing in late June, however, he was asked to work out at third base, as the player acquired to replace him in his absence, Matt Adams, was hitting extremely well and the Braves wanted to have both he and Freddie in their regular line-up. He had not played third base since high school, but said "I'm 100 percent go on it. My mindset is coming back as a third baseman." He was activated on July 4th and started at third base that day. He made 16 starts at third base, but in the end the Braves decided that it was not wise to expose their best player to a higher risk of injury at an unfamiliar position, and he returned to his familiar first base job. He hit .307 in 107 games, with 28 homers and 71 RBIs.

In 2018, he played all 162 games for a Braves team that won a division title for the first time since 2013. He was acknowledged as the leader of a team full of very good youngsters, including Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies and Dansby Swanson. He returned to the All-Star Game for the first time since 2014, when it was played in his home ballpark of SunTrust Park, and overall hit .309, led the National League with 191 hits and 44 doubles, added 23 homers and 98 RBIs. He also won a Gold Glove for his defensive play at first base. The Braves made a quick exit from the postseason, though, being eliminated in four games by the Los Angeles Dodgers at the Division Series stage; Freddie went 4 for 16 with 1 homer in the loss. On July 22, 2019, he tied a team record belonging to Sid Gordon by collecting an RBI in a 10th straight game. It was not just one RBI, though, as he had 5 in the game, leading the Braves to a 13-9 win over the Washington Nationals. He had another great season, hitting .295 and setting personal bests with 38 homers, 113 runs and 121 RBIs. He was an All-Star again, and won the Silver Slugger Award as the best-hitting first baseman in the league; surprisingly, it was his first time winning that particular award, even though he was clearly on a Hall of Fame path by that point. The Braves repeated as division titlists, but again suffered a quick postseason exit, this time at the hand of the St. Louis Cardinals in the NLDS. He went 4 for 20 with a double and homer, but just 1 RBI, in the loss.

When training camp reopened in July 2020 following a long lay-off caused by the Coronavirus pandemic, he was unable to join his teammates in Atlanta, as it was announced he had tested positive for the disease, along with a few teammates. He experienced severe symptoms, including a high fever and lost his senses of smell and taste for a number of days. His prolonged absence meant that he would likely be unable to be with the team for the delayed season opener. He was finally cleared to resume playing on July 17th. On September 4th, he hit the first grand slam of his career in the 7th inning of a game against the Washington Nationals and Tanner Rainey, tying the score at 7-7. He had hit 232 homers before finally connecting with the bases loaded. That was only a few short of the all-time record, held by Sammy Sosa, who had hit 246 homers before hitting his first slam. With the monkey off his back, he connected again for a grand slam on September 6th in a 10-3 win over the Nationals. Coincidentally, Sosa had hit his second career grand slam the day after finally hitting his first. He hit .375 with 8 homers and 32 RBIs for the month and was named the National League Player of the Month for September. He finished the season at .341 with 13 homers and 53 RBIs, leading the league in runs scored (51) and doubles (23).

Freeman had a relatively quiet first half in 2021, although it did not keep him from making the All-Star team for the fifth time. The Braves were preseason favorites in the NL East, but got off to a middling start and then saw a slew of injuries apparently end their hopes for another postseason appearance, especially when OF Ronald Acuna was lost to injury for the remainder of the season just before the All-Star break. But Freeman was one of the players who stepped up after that devastating blow, and the Braves caught both the New York Mets and Philadelphia Phillies to move into first place in August. On August 18th, Freddie hit for the cycle for the second time of his career in an 11-9 win over the Miami Marlins; it took him just six innings to get the four hits as he doubled in the 1st, tripled in the 4th, singled in the 5th and then went deep off Luis Madero in the 6th. No one else had accomplished the feat for the Braves since he had done so in 2016. The Braves ended up winning their division, and then sweeping through the postseason, defeating the Houston Astros in the World Series to win their first championship since 1995. He had a number of key hits during the postseason, including a home run off Josh Hader of the Milwaukee Brewers in the 8th inning of Game 4 of the Division Series that advanced the Braves to the next round, and another one in Game 6 of the World Series. He became a free agent following the World Series, and while it was clear that he wanted to return to Atlanta, it wasn't certain that the Braves would be willing to pay full market value to retain his services.

Freeman was still unsigned when the 2021-2022 lockout put a freeze on transactions, and when the labor dispute was finally resolved in mid-March, he was probably the most sought-after of the remaining free agents, with at least six teams seriously interested in his services. Seeing the strong competition, the Braves soon bowed outm, trading with the Oakland A's to obtain Matt Olson, and in the end, on March 16, 2022, it was the Los Angeles Dodgers who won the competition with an offer of $162 million over six years. They were suddenly in need of another bat, given that the resolution pf the lockout had resulted in the adoption of the universal DH, and with 1B Max Muncy being a mediocre fielder and having suffered a serious injury at the end of the previous season while fielding a throw from the infield, Freeman represented a major upgrade, freeing Muncy to concentrate on his hitting as the team's DH. Freeman was his usual excellent self in the first half with his new team, hitting.299 in April, and .306 in both May and June. As the team headed into the All-Star break, he was leading the National League in hits. However, all was not rosy on the personal front. His first return visit to Atlanta on June 24]-26, when he received his World Series ring, was highly emotional, and only a few days later, he fired his agent Casey Close after a report came out that while the contract he negotiated with the Dodgers may have been more favorable to Close, when all factors were considered in comparison to Atlanta's final offer, including deferred salary and local tax rates, Freeman had not come out ahead. It was Fox Sports radio host Doug Gottlieb who does not normally cover baseball, who reported on this, and accused Close of not telling his client about the Braves' final offer and in effect selling out Freeman's well-known preference to stay with the Braves for his own personal profit. In turn, Close sued Gottlieb for libel in early July, accusing of having spread a "false narrative" about how the negotiations unfolded. In early September, Gottlieb retracted himself and apologized, saying he had gotten the story wrong. Freeman hit .325 in 125 games in his first season with the Dodgers, leading the NL in plate appearances (708), runs (117), hits (199), doubles (47) and OBP (.407). He also added 21 homers and 100 RBIs and his OPS+ was 154. He made the All-Star team for the sixth time and finished fourth in the MVP vote. The Dodgers had the best record in the NL, but were upset by the San Diego Padres in the Division Series in spite of Freeman going 5 for 14 (.357) with 3 doubles and a homer in the four games.

He returned to play for Team Canada in the 2023 World Baseball Classic, as he had done the previous time the tournament was staged, in 2017, but had to leave the team after its third game because of a hamstring issue, thus missing the crucial final game against the Mexican national team that could have brought Canada to the second round for the first time. He was back in full health for the start of the 2023 season. On May 18th, he hit the 300th homer of his career by slugging a grand slam off Genesis Cabrera of the St. Louis Cardinals as the Dodgers failed in an attempt to come back from an 8-1 deficit, ultimately losing the game, 16-8. He was only the second player after Ruben Sierra to reach the 300 plateau with a slam. Jason Heyward was his teammate in that game, just as he had been when he had hit his first career homer back in 2010. He was named the NL Player of the Month for May, his fourth time winning the award, thanks to a 20-game hitting streak, a .400 batting average, 17 doubles and 26 RBIs. On June 25th, he hit a pair of doubles in a 6-5 extra-innings loss to the Astros, the second of which was his 2,000th career hit. He was the sixth active player with that total. On August 27th, he collected his 50th double of the season, in the process setting a new Dodgers franchise record since the move to Los Angeles in 1958; the previous record of 49 had been set by Shawn Green in 2003, while the all-time record, including the years in Brooklyn was well within reach, as Johnny Frederick had hit 52 in 1929. He passed Frederick by hitting his 53rd double on September 8th. On September 22nd, he reached 200 hits in a season for the first time in his career; even though he had twice led the NL in the category, his personal high had been 199, in 2022. He finished the year at .331 in 161 games, with 211 hits, a league-leading 59 doubles, 29 homers, 131 runs scored and 102 RBIs. His OPS+ of 160 was the highest of his career, except for the shortened 2020 season. He also led the Dodgers in stolen bases with 23, a number achieved not through blazing speed but through his ability to study the opposition's pitchers and taking advantage when they are not paying attention to him at first base.

Notable Achievements[edit]

  • 7-time NL All-Star (2013, 2014, 2018, 2019 & 2021-2023)
  • NL Gold Glove Winner (2018)
  • 3-time NL Silver Slugger Award Winner (2019-2021)
  • NL On-Base Percentage Leader (2022)
  • 3-time NL Runs Scored Leader (2020-2022)
  • 2-time NL Hits Leader (2018 & 2022)
  • 4-times NL Doubles Leader (2018, 2020, 2022 & 2023)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 10 (2011-2013, 2016-2019 & 2021-2023)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (2016, 2019 & 2021)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 4 (2013, 2019, 2022 & 2023)
  • 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 5 (2016, 2019 & 2021-2023)
  • Won one World Series with the Atlanta Braves in 2021

2019 2020 2021
Cody Bellinger Freddie Freeman Bryce Harper

Further Reading[edit]

  • David Adler: "Dodgers' steals leader is not who you expect. Here's how he does it",, October 5, 2023. [1]
  • Mark Bowman: "Freeman unlikely to be ready for opener",, July 16, 2020. [2]
  • Mark Bowman: "MVFree: Freddie wins 1st NL MVP Award: After four top-10 finishes, Braves 1B claims honor",, November 12, 2020. [3]
  • Mark Bowman: "'Pretty cool': Freddie logs 2nd career cycle",, August 19, 2021. [4]
  • Mark Bowman: "Freeman faces free agency with title in tow: Braves' star first baseman matches club record with five HRs in 2021 postseason",, November 3, 2021. [5]
  • Aria Gerson: "'Please don't take me': Braves' Freddie Freeman details harrowing battle with COVID-19", USA Today, July 18, 2020. [6]
  • Joe Harris: "Freeman joins 300-HR/1,000-RBI club, calls Dad: Slugger becomes just second player to hit a grand slam for No. 300",, May 19, 2023. [7]
  • Steve Henson (Los Angeles Times): "Dodgers' Freddie Freeman chases the all-time doubles records of obscure names", Yahoo! Sports, August 28, 2023. [8]
  • Richard Justice: "Elusive MVP may find Freeman this year",, September 16, 2020. [9]
  • Gabe Lacques: "Braves slugger Freddie Freeman beats Mookie Betts for NL MVP honor", USA Today, November 12, 2020. [10]
  • Bob Nightengale: "Freddie Freeman finally enjoying winning ride with Braves", USA Today, September 9, 2018. [11]
  • Jason Owens: "Freddie Freeman's ex-agent reportedly sues Fox Sports' Doug Gottlieb for libel over tweet about Braves negotiations", Yahoo! Sports, July 14, 2022. [12]
  • Mike Petriello: "The two different Freddie Freemans: Dodgers star strikes out one-third as often with runners on",, June 14, 2022. [13]
  • Manny Randhawa: "The lowdown on FA 1B Freddie Freeman",, November 7, 2021. [14]
  • Juan Toribio: "Dodgers win Freddie sweepstakes on 6-year megadeal (source)",, March 17, 2022. [15]
  • Juan Toribio: "Freeman joins 2,000-hit club with family, fans in attendance: Fan favorite has sixth-most hits among active players",, June 26, 2023. [16]

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