Eugene Lewis Freese (January 8, 1934 – June 18, 2013) was a third baseman in American Major League Baseball for 12 seasons (1955-1966). A journeyman, he played for the Pittsburgh Pirates (twice), St. Louis Cardinals, Philadelphia Phillies, Chicago White Sox (twice), Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros, batting .254 with 115 home runs in 1,115 games. He batted and threw right-handed.
Despite his well-traveled resume, Freese was an important cog on the 1961 National League champion Reds. Acquired in an off-season interleague deal with the White Sox, Freese reached career highs in home runs (26) and RBI (87) and played 151 games at third base as Cincinnati won its first pennant since 1940. In the 1961 World Series, won by the New York Yankees in five games, Freese hit only 1-of-16, including being the victim of one of two spectacular defensive plays by third-base counterpart Clete Boyer in the Series opener.
The following spring, Freese broke an ankle during a spring training intrasquad game and missed almost the entire 1962 season. He never regained his 1961 form, although he stayed in the Majors through 1966. His older brother, George Freese, briefly played Major League baseball and was a longtime scout and minor league manager.
Freese died on June 18, 2013.
By Dean Hanley
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