2020 was an incredibly difficult year for losing tremendous Hall of Fame players. In 2021, the names we’ve lost haven’t been as huge, but we’ve still lost some incredibly impactful players.
As many BCB readers know, I’m also a writer over at Bless You Boys, and I’m a Detroit Tigers fan. My two favorite players of all time are Fergie Jenkins and Bill Freehan. On Thursday, the Tigers shared news that Freehan had passed away at the age of 79, after a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.
Freehan spent 15 seasons with the Tigers, and was an 11-time All-Star and 5-time Gold Glove winner. Though he’s not currently in the Hall of Fame, there’s a case to be made for him, as he was an instrumental part of the World Series-winning 1968 Tigers team. Freehan leaves a lasting legacy with the team, and with Tigers fans from all eras. His family was by his side when he passed.
- AP shared the story of his death and his career accomplishments.
- Bill Dow memorialized the catcher for the Detroit Free Press.
- I wrote about Freehan’s passing over at Bless You Boys.
- Johnny Bench shared thoughts on Freehan’s passing.
79. So young! #billfreehan @tigers @MLB I can’t remember meeting a nicer and classier man. I can still remember him catching in the bullpen in spring training after he retired. It was so mesmerizing. My love to all his family— Johnny Bench (@JohnnyBench_5) August 19, 2021
Now on to the rest of the week’s stories.
- After 70 years, MLB is ending their trading card relationship with Topps. Story by Jabari Young.
- Detroit Tigers TV commentator, and Hall of Famer Jack Morris, was suspended indefinitely from broadcasts after making a racist joke on the air.
- Jay Jaffe looks at the terrifying hit-by-pitch experienced by Chris Bassitt this week.
- One of the other big stories of the week continues to be Trevor Bauer’s assault charges. Sheryl Ring has been covering the recent hearings and explaining the legal aspects for readers. If you read any coverage, start with Sheryl’s.
- Madeline Coleman writes about the judge’s decision to deny Bauer’s accuser a restraining order.
- His leave has been extended until August 27th.
MLB and MLBPA have agreed to extend Trevor Bauer’s administrative leave through 8/27.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) August 19, 2021
- How important is the dynamic between pitchers and catchers to winning teams? Peter Gammons looks at how the pairings size up for some contending clubs. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Neil Paine says it’s fine to boo the Astros, but leave Zack Greinke out of it.
- Desiree Kelly and nine other writers shared a vital story about the decline of African American players in baseball, and spotlighted nine players from multiple generations specifically in this collected piece for The Washington Post.
- Nick Selbe makes a case for the under-the-radar talent of David Fletcher.
- Shakeia Taylor looks through Marcus Stroman’s starts in order to determine which of his many durags he performs best in.
- Shayna Rubin brings us the story of Samantha Schultz, the literal astrophysicist who is helping bring the best out of Oakland A’s pitching.
- These are bad. These are not fun.
- Joon Lee ranks the MLB City Connect jerseys. He agrees with me that the Dodgers ones are bad.
- Is Joey Votto a future Hall of Famer? C. Trent Rosecrans and Jayson Stark make a case for the lovable Canadian. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- The crew over at MLB dot com also debated the topic, and they all agree the answer is a resounding yes.
- Tim Kurkjian waxes poetic about why the Little League World Series is all that’s good and right in the world.
- Eno Sarris looks at the unique experience of outfield fan and player interactions. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Baseball is fun! Every single team has a player chasing down a milestone at the moment.
- The NL Cy Young race shows the diverse range of skills among the league’s best pitchers. Story by Michael Baumann.
- Lance Lynn wants no part of sticky substance checks.
Lance Lynn was ejected from the game after it appeared he tossed his belt toward the umpire during a foreign substance check pic.twitter.com/fcTEsM3iI5— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) August 19, 2021
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.