Who is Bill Freehan's wife? Catcher on 1968 champion Detroit Tigers dies at 79

According to reports, Bill Freehan's death comes after a long battle with Dementia

                            Who is Bill Freehan's wife? Catcher on 1968 champion Detroit Tigers dies at 79
Bill Freehan was key player on the 1968 World Series championship team (Twitter @tigers)

Detroit Tigers' catcher Bill Freehan passed away on Thursday, August 19. He was 79 years old. Freehan was key player on the 1968 World Series championship team. According to reports, Freehan's death comes after a long battle with Dementia. 

Detroit Tigers said in a statement, "We mourn the passing of Bill Freehan, who spent all 15 years of his career wearing the Olde English ‘D’. He was an 11-time All Star, five-time Gold Glove winner, 1968 World Series Champion and impactful community leader." The statement further added, "An all-time great Tiger, the Olde English ‘D’ was the only logo he wore over his 15-year Major League career, during which he was named to 11 All-Star teams, won five straight Gold Glove Awards and played a key role on the 1968 World Series Championship team. Off the diamond, Freehan made a positive impact in the southeast Michigan community, including as a player and then coach at the University of Michigan, where he changed the lives of many for the better. Our thoughts are with Bill’s wife, Pat, and the entire Freehan family." Some of the sporting personalities who lost their lives this year include Greg Clark (NFL star), Terry Donahue (UCLA coach), Colt Brennan (Former Hawaii quarterback) and Geno Hayes (former NFL linebacker).


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Tigers manager AJ Hinch spoke of Freehan's death Thursday, August 19 morning and said, "Arguably the best catcher in the history of the organization, and deep Michigan roots. I had a chance to meet him. [Pitching coach] Chris Fetter actually coached his grandson at the University of Michigan. Anybody that’s been around the organization a long time has a heavy heart today. Obviously a true Tiger." The team also released a statement from Bill Freehan's former teammate and lifelong friend Willie Horton that said, "Bill Freehan was one of the greatest men I’ve ever played alongside, or had the pleasure of knowing. I’ll always cherish our childhood memories together and our journey from sandlot baseball to Tiger Stadium. His entire Major League career was committed to the Tigers and the City of Detroit, and he was one of the most respected and talented members of the organization through some difficult yet important times throughout the 1960s and '70s. You’d be hard-pressed to find another athlete that had a bigger impact on his community over the course of his life than Bill, who will be sorely missed in Detroit and beyond."



Born in Detroit, Bill Freehan was a two-sport student-athlete at the University of Michigan. Tigers signed him for a $125,000 bonus in 1961. Freehan caught 1,581 games for Tigers, which is more than 500 more than anyone else in franchise history. When he retired, his 10,714 chances, 9,941 putouts and .993 fielding percentage topped the all-time list for Major League catchers. Freehan rejoined the team as a catching instructor from 2002-05 before retiring to his home in suburban Detroit.

Who was Bill Freehan married to?

Bill Freehan got married to Pat Freehan in 1963. Pat took care of him with help from hospice care until his final days. Bill Freehan mostly stayed sway from the limelight after his diagnosis, but his wife, Pat attended the 1968 reunion during which she said, "It’s been a good, wonderful, beautiful, blessed life. We’re very fortunate." In 2018, Pat Freehan told her husband’s story as part of a $5 million fundraising campaign that featured dozens of sports celebrities, including Michigan coach Jim Harbaugh, former Michigan State quarterback Kirk Cousins, former Michigan coach Lloyd Carr and my colleague, Free Press sports columnist Mitch Albom. Speaking of Hospice of Michigan, Pat said that going public "is not something that I really wanted to do, but I felt they have been so gracious. Done everything they have promised. I just love the people who have helped me."

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