Detroit (AP) - Bill Freehan, a 11-time star receiver with Detroit tigers and key player in the 1968 World Series Championship team, died on Thursday at 79 years.
The Tigers honored Freehan with a moment of silence and photos and videos on the Marcado de Comerica Park before an afternoon game with the angels of Los Angeles.
"It's with a heavy heart that all of us with the Detroit tigers extend our condolences to the friends and family of Bill Freehan," said the team.
The cause of death was not revealed, but the members of the family have said publicly that Freehan had Alzheimer's disease.
He played all his career with the tigers, from 1961 to 1976. In addition to the appearances of the star, including 15 entrances in the 1967 game, Freehan received five gold gloves.
"The boy was the best receiver I've released. ... nobody did it better," said Denny Mclain, who won 31 games for the Tigers in 1968.
In Game 5 of the 1968 World Series against St. Louis Cardinals, Freehan blocked the starting plate during a crucial game and tagged in Lou Brock. Detroit won the game and series: a better captured result by a famous photo of the Mickey Lolich pitcher jumping into the arms of his attractive Jubilan who caught Balk for the last place in Game 7.
"He was the heart and soul of the dance club," said teammate and a companion of Catcher Jim Price.
Angels Manager Joe Maddon called Freehan a "Great Catcher". He was a St. Louis fan as a teenager and remembered the great game on the plate of the World Series.
"Brock does not slide," Maddon lamented.
Willie Horton, a gardener who made the release that Brock nailed, Freehan said was one of the best teammates of him.
"All his major league career committed himself to the tigers and the city of Detroit, and was one of the most respected and talented members of the organization through some difficult and important times over sixty and 70s." Horton said.
Before joining the tigers, Freehan played football and baseball at the University of Michigan. He trained the Baseball team from Michigan since 1990-95 and also worked in the Detroit minor league system.
Freehan's family suspected Alzheimer's disease was related to the brain shocks of him as a player. A grandson, Blaise Salter, abandons the minor leagues in 2018 after two brain shocks in eight months.
"I do not even know if they document the concusions on the day," Salter told Detroit's free press at that time. "But obviously, he had enough, think about it: when he was catching, they did not have helmets like a catcher, there is a lack of ball after the lack of his head, there is definitely a connection".
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