Monday, November 17, 2014

MISSING IN ACTION-"IN ACTION" #14: 1972 BILL FREEHAN

This is cool.
My last "MIA-MIA" 1972 card was of future Hall of Fame member Frank Robinson.
And today I want to present to you all my newest addition to the thread, Bill Freehan, with a great in-game action shot of him blocking the plate against who else, Frank Robinson.
Take a look:


Great action shot!
1972 marked a "changing of the guard" in a sense when it came to American League catchers.
Up until then, Freehan was considered by many to be the best A.L. Backstop, manning the plate in Detroit for about 10 years and being named to eight-straight All-Star games at the time.
Also the winner of five Gold Gloves, Freehan was pretty much the top of the heap when it came to catchers in the Junior Circuit.
Then in 1970 you had Thurman Munson come along, win the Rookie of the Year Award, and then was followed by the Boston red Sox young stud Carlton Fisk, who'd take home the same award two years later.
Coupled with Johnny Bench and Ted Simmons in the National League, and you can see how the landscape was changing for Major League catching.
Nevertheless, Freehan was a stalwart behind the plate for the Tigers.
Three times he'd finish in the top-10 for Most Valuable Player (1964, 1967 & 1968), and he'd play his entire 15-year career in Motown.
A solid player through and through, he'd retire after the 1976 season with a .262 lifetime average, 200 homers and 758 runs batted in over 1774 games and 6073 at-bats.
He was named to eleven all-star games, and finished with a .993 fielding percentage while donning the "tools of ignorance".
I can't tell who the Baltimore player is who is watching the play unfold in front of him.
Any ideas?

5 comments:

  1. Great card G. Might be Paul Blair? Probably too early for Al Bumbry.

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  2. Appears to have a single-digit uniform. If the photo is from 70 or 71, this is either Paul Blair (wore 6) or Don Buford (wore 9)

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  3. Good call, Seth. Looks more like Blair (and like a 6) to me. I thought of Bumbry, too, and he did come up in '72, but he wore 1 and that doesn't look like a 1 on the uniform.

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  4. I was thinking Al Bumbry too, but that picture was taken in 1969 (100 Anni patch). That's Paul Blair IMO. Too tall to be Buford.

    Great picture.

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