When his many baseball accomplishments were added up, Bill Freehan, the longtime standout catcher of the Detroit Tigers, was most proud of helping his team win the 1968 World Series. “The World Series is a team thing,” Freehan observed in a 1999 interview, “and baseball is a team sport. The World Series is the thing you dream about, winning a world championship. The other awards, like the All-Star team or Gold Gloves, are individual accomplishments. But a lot of great players have never had the chance to play in a World Series, so it’s the greatest thrill.”
William Ashley Freehan, born on November 29, 1941, the oldest of four children in a middle class Catholic family, Freehan, grew up in the northern Detroit suburb of Royal Oak. Like many boys his age, he loved sports, and he began playing sandlot ball in Detroit when he was in junior high school. Big and agile for his age as a youth, Bill usually played ball with older boys while he was growing up. Always a rugged athlete, he believed the best competition made him a better ballplayer.
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