Monday, February 08, 2010

#492 Gene Freese

#492 Gene Freese
I've wandered home after spending the weekend snowed in with my better half in Calvert County, so it's time to get back on the horse with this now-45-year-old card set. Next man up is Gene Freese, who to the best of my knowledge was never nicknamed "Mr. Freese". Batman? Anybody?

Fun facts about Gene Freese:

-Born in Wheeling, WV, Gene signed with the Pirates in 1953 as a nineteen-year-old.

-His older brother George Freese was a third baseman who briefly played for the Tigers, Pirates, and Cubs.

-Gene cracked the Pittsburgh starting lineup as a 21-year-old rookie in 1955, alternating between second base and third base and hitting .253 with 21 doubles, eight triples, and 14 homers.

-After a sophomore slump, he rebounded in 1957 with a career-high .283 average as a part-time starter at three positions (adding a few games in left field).

-Played for five teams in a four-year span (Pirates, Cardinals, Phillies, White Sox, Reds), and actually had a productive run in the midst of all of that movement. In 1959, he hit 23 homers for the Phillies, including consecutive pinch-hit longballs in April.

-Placed third in the American League with 32 doubles for the White Sox in 1960, and drove in 79 runs as the primary third baseman.

-Was a crucial cog for the pennant-winning Reds in 1961, reaching personal bests with 26 home runs and 87 RBI. The Yankees shut him down in the World Series, as he managed one double in the five-game series.

-A broken ankle in 1962 derailed his career, as return engagements with the Pirates and ChiSox were unproductive, and he finished his major league career with the Astros in 1966.

-After prolonging his career in AAA in 1967-1968, Gene called it quits. In his big league career, he hit .254 with 115 home runs and 432 RBI in parts of a dozen seasons.

-Freese returned to the minors to manage the Brewers' AA Shreveport team in 1973-1974, racking up a 129-147 record. Later, he owned the Third Base Inc. night club in nearby New Orleans.
#492 Gene Freese (back)


  1. Hey Kevin, I think this is the card where Gene Freese goofed on the photographer by posing as a lefty (he was a righty batter).

  2. Doug - I believe you're right! Good eye for detail. :)