Freeman grew up in Fountain Valley, California, less than 20 minutes from Angels Stadium, the home of the L.A. Angels of Anaheim.
In 2000, Freddie's mother Rosemary died of melanoma, leaving her husband, Fred, to raise three boys ages 16, 13, and 10. Freddie was the 10-year-old. In the melancholy time to follow, Fred, suddenly a single parent, worried about his sons' emotional well-being and their safety—particularly that of Freddie, who was too young to be left alone.
So Fred, a partner in an accounting firm in Villa Park, Calif., would wait to take his lunch breaks until 2:00 p.m., when his youngest son's school day was over. He would pick Freddie up, and the two would drive to Handy Park. For the next hour he would throw strike after strike to his son, who would meet the ball with a swing that grew prettier by the day, like those of his idols, Chili Davis and Garret Anderson.
After batting practice Fred and his son would drive back to the accounting firm, where Freddie would do his homework in an empty office until it was time to go home for dinner. "He grew up very fast after his mom passed away," Fred says. "I couldn't be there to stand over him all the time, so he had to do some things on his own." (Ben Reiter-Sports Illustrated-2/28/2011)
Freddie's dad, Fred, says that the only aspiration he had for his son as an athlete was to play high school baseball. "I remember going to school. When you're on a team, you're popular and you're running around with your friends on the bus and having a great time in high school," Fred said. "That was my ultimate goal, to have him make the high school team. I was not making a Major League hitter, that's for sure."
Freddie was a member of both USA Baseball's youth and junior national teams, Freeman dominated for the youth team in 2005 before struggling in the World Junior Championship in the fall of 2006 (2-for-21) in Cuba.
In 2007, Freddie's senior year at El Modena High School in Orange, California, he committed to Cal State-Fullerton on a baseball scholarship.
But he chose instead to sign with the Braves, for a bonus of $409,500, after being drafted in the second round. Mike Baker is the scout who signed Freddie.
During the winter before 2008 spring training, the Baseball America Prospect Handbook rated Freeman as the 19th-best prospect in the Braves' organization. In the spring of 2009, they moved Freddie all the way up to #5 in the Atlanta farm system.
And in the winter before 2010 spring training, they moved Freeman to second best prospect in the Braves' organization. And they had him at #2 again in the spring of 2011, behind only righthander Julio Teheran.
In 2008, Freeman was second in the South Atlantic League in slugging percentage (.521) and fourth in batting (.316), hits (155), extra-base hits (58) and RBIs (95). And, Freddie was named the Braves' Minor League Player of the Year for 2008.
In 2010, Freddie became the first Braves' farmhand to win International League rookie of the year honors since Chipper Jones in 1993. The first baseman was a deserving recipient after leading the league with 147 hits and 240 total bases, tying for second in batting average, and placing second with 35 doubles. He also ranked fourth in slugging percentage and fifth with 55 extra-base hits.
- Beginning in May 2012, Freeman experienced blurred vision. He was in a constant battle to gain confidence in his ability to see well enough to handle the task of hitting at the big league level.
"I never had that 100 percent confidence in my eyes," Freeman said. "All of the sudden, I would move my eye to the left, feel something and think, 'Here we go again.' I think a lot of it was in my head and I wasn't trusting my eyes."
Those who remember the many different ways Freeman attempted to solve his vision problems should have an understanding of the excitement he felt when he arrived at Champion Stadium March 7, 2013 and found a pair of specially fitted Under Armour glasses waiting in his locker.
Unlike the pair Freeman attempted to wear last year, this new pair of clear lens glasses do not include prescription lenses. His plan this year is to wear them to protect against foreign particles entering his sensitive eyes and blurring the corrected vision he will gain from his contact lenses.
"If I can just block everything out, it will be great," Freeman said. "My eyes are so sensitive that if one thing gets in there, it's over."
Freeman will wear these glasses whenever he is on the field, except when he is batting. When he attempted to wear the glasses with the protective lenses last year, he was bothered by a blind spot created by the nose piece. If he reaches base safely, he will grab the glasses that first-base coach Terry Pendleton will hold whenever Freddie comes to the plate.
Braves teammate Jason Heyward has repeatedly said Freeman has been an "RBI hog" since the two began their professional careers together in 2007. Through the first two months of the 2013 season, Freeman simply legitimized this description.
"I don't know what the deal is when there is a guy in scoring position, I don't know if I concentrate harder or what the deal is," Freeman said. "But I want to get those guys in."
Freeman's power potential has provided him the opportunity to maximize run-producing opportunities. He has produced with runners in scoring position.
"I believe there are guys out there that when there are [run-producing situations], they get it done," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "I think [Miguel] Cabrera is one. I think Manny Ramirez in his heyday was one. Carlos Lee was one of those guys. For whatever reason, they step up their game. [Freeman] is a contact guy, which I believe you have to be to be that guy." (5/27/2013)
Freeman is hoping at some point in the future to play play for Canada at the WBC with both his parents being from Canada. He says it would be a great tribute to his mother who has passed away. (October 2013)
In January 2014, Atlanta had a massive snow and ice storm that caused gridlock on all major highways in and around the city.
Freddie got stuck in gridlock near the start of the freezing storm. After over five hours of being stuck, he emailed former teammate Chipper Jones of his peril. After 11 hours of gridlock, Chipper arrived on his ATV and rescued Freeman, who just left his car in a parking lot.
Freddie is not afraid to express his emotions. And for Freeman, they often come out in hugs.
In 2014 Freeman played in a Major League-best 1,449 innings in the field, breaking the franchise record of 1,447 innings set by Andruw Jones in 1999. He was the only National League player to start each of his team's 162 games in 2014.
"It's an accomplishment personally," Freeman said. "I've always wanted to do that and never had the chance. To stay healthy all year and be able to grind out 162 games, it's definitely a nice reward at the end of a season."
Freeman's dedication and determination to play on a daily basis was an indication that he does not plan to sit on the comfort he gained in January when he signed a franchise-record eight-year, $135 million contract.
"Everybody is beat up, it's 162 games and he plays through it," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "Good for him, that is a goal he wanted to achieve." (Bowman - mlb.com - 9/28/2014)
July 15, 2016: Freddie was just 4 years old when his mother, Rosemary, was first diagnosed with melanoma. The skin cancer remained in remission for about five years, but in 2000, Rosemary lost her battle with the disease.
So when Freeman noticed a mole on his back ahead of the 2016 All-Star break, he opted to have a dermatologist remove it during the four-day respite. Three days later, Freeman learned the biopsy revealed cancerous cells in the mole.
"They said if I just take a picture of it and monitor it, it would be fine," Freeman said. "But I don't think they knew there were going to be abnormal cells in the mole. So I said, 'With my family's history, just cut it out right now.'"
Freeman received stitches in his back and rested for 48 hours before returning to Atlanta's lineup for the first game of the second half. Sharing the same complexion as his mother, Freeman wears sleeves and sunglasses as protection from the sun and to lower his chances of developing melanoma. He has also partnered with multiple organizations to spread awareness about the disease. But even with his strong efforts to take care of himself, the 26-year-old still knows he has to monitor his skin.
"It's what I'm going to have to do a lot during my lifetime," Freeman said. "I'd rather get them cut out now and deal with the pain for a couple of days, but other than that, I feel fine." (P James - MLB.com - July 16, 2016)
Since he first learned his wife, Chelsea, was pregnant, Freddie had dealt with the emotions of becoming a father. But during a 7-5 loss to the Marlins, Freeman's level of excitement reached another level when he found out Chelsea was going into labor.
"Early on in the pregnancy, I got excited, then I got nervous and then I got excited again," said Freeman, who sprinted out of the home dugout at Turner Field in the bottom of the seventh inning. "But once I got that call, a lot of emotions kind of came in. Obviously, I got out of here as quick as I could and we got to the hospital that night. It's just a pretty surreal moment."
The couple welcomed their first child, Frederick Charles Freeman II, on September 15, 2016, more than 24 hours after Chelsea went into labor. Freeman had told Braves manager Brian Snitker earlier in the week that he planned on playing the day after Chelsea gave birth, but the skipper texted his first baseman on the 16th and told him to stay with his wife and child.
The 27-year-old returned to the lineup on September 17, when he extended his hitting streak to a career-high 21 games.
"I don't know if I was really back out here," said Freeman, who finished 1-for-4 with three strikeouts. "I could hardly keep my eyes open, but it was nice to put a uniform on. I watched the game Friday night in the hospital room, and it's always tough watching the game on TV." (Bowman - MLB.com - 9/18/2016)
January 2017: Freeman committed to play for Canada in the World Baseball Classic. Freeman was born in California, but both his parents were born in Canada.
As Freeman made an early arrival to 2018 Spring Training, he anxiously looked forward to testing the physical improvements he made during the offseason. A few months of rest allowed him to regain strength in the left wrist he fractured in May 2017, and the Lasik surgery he underwent in October 2017, has positioned him to avoid the dry-eye discomfort his contact lenses had occasionally caused on windy days.
"We actually took the golf cart around, and I had wind blowing in my eyes and it felt great," Freeman said. "I could see. I've been testing it here and there with different scenarios. I can wake up and see, which is the greatest thing ever. I don't have to reach for glasses anymore. It's been pretty cool."
Freeman was named National League Player of the Week twice (April 16-22) and (April 30-May 6) during the early portion of the 2012 season. But his chronic dry-eye issues began when wind irritated his eyes before a May 7 game at Wrigley Field that same year. As Freeman battled some eye discomfort through a portion of that 2012 season and during many of the ensuing trips to Chicago and Denver, he began thinking about having the Lasik procedure. But he wisely waited, partly because he knew about Brian McCann's experiences after the catcher underwent the surgery after the 2007 season.
McCann was just 23 years old when he first had his eyesight adjusted via this procedure. He experienced problems, including blurred vision, over the ensuing two years, and he had to undergo the surgery again after the 2009 season.
"They always say to wait three years for your eyes to stop changing," Freeman said. "That's exactly what I did. They said to do it when you're about 27 years old, too. I've been counting down the years, waiting to get it because ever since I had those eye problems in 2012, there are certain cities where my contacts dry out and it's been a real struggle." (M Bowman - MLB.com - February 16, 2018)
March 23, 2018: Long before he was on the receiving end of the famous snow rescue conducted by Atlanta's newest Hall of Famer, Freddie Freeman was an eager, bright-eyed rookie who was essentially at Chipper Jones' beck and call. Seven years later, as Freeman stands as the face of the Braves' franchise and one of baseball's top players, he gratefully remembers how he went from being Jones' go-fer in 2011 to one of his closest friends.
"It was a little bit different back then," Freeman said. "I would get him his Red Bulls and anything he asked me to get. I was the carrier of the poker chips on road trips. I'd get the call in my hotel room at one o'clock in the morning, and I'd run the poker chips to his room. I never complained. I just wanted to be the guy that just did everything he wanted. He took that to his liking."
Many remember the frigid January night in 2014, when Jones pulled his all-terrain four-wheeler out of his suburban Atlanta garage and drove a couple miles to rescue Freeman, who had already navigated his way through icy roads and gridlock traffic for more than eight hours. But not many have heard how this friendship began to truly blossom during Spring Training in 2012, when Freeman was interrupted during a restful day with his wife by a call from Jones, whose message was, essentially, "I think it's time we start to hang out."
"I looked at my wife and said, 'I'm going over to Chipper's house,'" Freeman said. "So I went over and we kind of hung out. It just kind of took off. I don't know if he saw a little of himself in me or what it was. But it was different. He was 40 and I was 22. I just kind of followed him around. That's a Hall of Fame player right there. You just want to be attached to his side and see what he did and how he prepared."
That February day was the first of many Jones and Freeman shared talking about the art of hitting. The young first baseman didn't immediately realize positive results as he battled vision problems throughout much of the summer. But in somewhat fitting fashion, before retiring that year, the iconic third baseman was on base when his latest successful pupil hit a postseason-clinching walk-off home run. "Obviously, I'm not going to have his career, I don't think I ever will," Freeman said. "But maybe he sees me as a guy who is on his path. I think it's just a relationship that just kept growing and growing and growing. To this day, it's stronger than it ever was. It's something I cherish. If I need something, he's there."
Jones became a first-ballot Hall of Famer in January. Freeman wants to travel the same path of his close friend, whose journey to Cooperstown was completed exclusively in a Braves uniform. "I've been through the highs and lows with this organization," Freeman said. "I want to be here for the highs again and be here for the rest of the time. I've built incredible relationships in this organization. I don't really want to go anywhere else." (M Bowman - MLB.com - March 23, 2018)
Having made his Major League debut in 2010, Freeman was part of postseason teams during three of his first four seasons. He was given a franchise-record eight-year, $135 million deal before what proved to be an influential '14 season for the organization. One year later, club executives met with him to inform him that they wanted him to remain an integral part of the organization during which, unsurprisingly, has been a painful rebuilding process.
Though he has battled two significant wrist injuries in the past three seasons, Freeman has produced the seventh-best OPS (.938) among all Major Leaguers who have compiled at least 1,400 at-bats since the start of the 2015 season. Dating back to June 15, 2016, Joey Votto (1.059) and Mike Trout (1.048) are the only players who have a better OPS than the Braves' first baseman (1.037).
But the value of Freeman's production hasn't been maximized, as the Braves have not exceeded more than 72 wins during any of the first three seasons of their rebuild.
"It's been tough," Freeman said. "There's no sugarcoating it. When you win 65 games, what are you going to say? It's tough. But we've progressively got better each year. Hopefully, during the last four years of this deal, it will be what we all wanted to happen."
As Freeman progresses through what should be his prime and finds himself in a lineup that should soon include Ronald Acuna Jr., he can already see why the Braves could exceed expectations this year and live up to their tremendous potential over the next few seasons. "It feels a lot different," Freeman said. "You want to see that light at the end of the tunnel, and you can almost touch it now with your hands. Those guys you've heard talked about for a long time are either here or almost here in the Big Leagues. We're so close.
"This is a big year for us. This is a huge year for us. You never know, this could be the year that we're the  Twins. You don't get picked and next thing you know, we're there. We have a lot of guys who could make a huge impact this year and get us back to the playoffs." (M Bowman - MLB.com - March 23, 2018)
July 2018: Freeman was selected to play in the MLB All-Star game. He also participated in the Home Run Derby.
The Braves had a strong first few months of the 2018 season and are right in the thick of things in the National League postseason picture.
As a result, four Braves will be in D.C. this week for All-Star Week 2018—and thanks to one of them, they'll be sporting some extremely choice footwear. Mike Foltynewicz, you see, designed some custom socks for his fellow Atlanta All-Stars to wear, and they were shown off during the broadcast of July 15th's 5-1 win over the D-backs.
Freddie has socks emblazoned with the smiling faces of his wife, Chelsea, and son, Charlie. Nick Markakis' feature his three sons, Taylor, Tucker and Toby. And while Ozzie Albies doesn't have a wife and kids just yet, his socks feature the face of his pal and teammate, Ronald Acuna Jr.
Excellent effort, Folty, and a great way to start what's sure to be an exciting week for the quartet. (Garro - mlb.com - 7/15/2018)
October 11, 2018: Freddie and Chelsea Freeman's young son Charlie showed off some incredible tee work. Freeman finished his 2018 season with a third All-Star selection, slashing .309/.388/.505 with 23 home runs and 98 RBIs. So we know he did well, but just how well did his son Charlie do?
It appears Chelsea and Freddie's young son has been practicing himself. And Freeman is one proud papa as well. After all, Charlie can do anything his daddy can do—just with a pacifier in his mouth. We are pretty sure you cannot draft him to your fantasy teams, but keep an ear open ... just in case. (J Kleinschmidt - MLB.com - October 11, 2018)
As of 2018, Freeman had the highest current WAR (33.1) of any Braves player.
June 2019: Freeman will start the Midsummer Classic for a second straight season and this is his third All-Star Game appearance overall. The vote was a nail-biter, however. Freeman had the smallest margin of victory of any winner, beating out Pittsburgh’s Josh Bell by fewer than 17,000 total votes. He's having one of the best seasons of his career in 2019. Freeman is batting .312 with 22 homers—already within one of his 2018 season total—and a personal-best .994 OPS. Last year's NL hits leader, Freeman is tied for the lead again in 2019, with an even 100.
July 9, 2019: The latest editions of the All-Star Game have made an effort to add a little more levity to the mix. In 2017, Nelson Cruz paused an at-bat to have Yadier Molina take a selfie of him with umpire Joe West, and in 2018, we saw various players wearing microphones in the outfield.
So, what's the logical next step to mic'd up players on defense? Mic'd up players at bat, of course. The broadcast found a pretty good person for the innovation, too: Freddie Freeman.
The affable Braves first baseman had a microphone on for his first-inning at-bat against AL All-Star starter Justin Verlander. Take it away, Freddie.
Freddie Freeman might have a future in broadcasting. 😂
Sorry, Freddie, but Verlander is such a competitor that he's wasn't going to groove a pitch to you, even in an All-Star Game. It was worth a shot, though!
Oct 2, 2019: A few days before the first game of the NLDS against the Cardinals, Freeman addressed a wide range of topics.
MLB.com: How’s the elbow?
Freddie Freeman: The elbow is good. We have a nice little Band-Aid on it and it should be good to go the rest of the way.
MLB.com: Will surgery be required as a result of the bone spur?
Freeman: No, not at this time. That is not an option we have talked about yet.
MLB.com: The Braves haven’t gone past the NLDS since 2001. What makes you think this team will go far?
Freeman: We can beat you in so many different ways. We have Mike Soroka and Dallas Keuchel, who can pitch shutouts. We can beat you with the long ball and we can small-ball you to death. When we went and acquired those relievers [Chris Martin, Shane Greene and Mark Melancon] at the trade deadline, we [shortened] our game. We are really a complete team even though our bench took a hit with Johan Camargo and Charlie Culberson getting hurt, but a lot of guys have stepped up. We need to continue to step up. Once we get all healthy and [with] Ronald [Acuña Jr.] getting healthy again, I think we have a really good chance.
MLB.com: What do you like about this team?
Freeman: I like everything about it. It’s a tough lineup to navigate for an opposing pitcher and manager. From pitch one, Ronald can hit a home run off you. It’s a deep lineup. Our starting rotation is completely different in so many ways. You have Keuchel and Soroka. You have Mike Foltynewicz, who is a power pitcher. You have Max Fried, who can dominate a lineup at any given time. Julio Teheran knows how to pitch. We have a really good team.
MLB.com: When did you know this team was going to give opponents fits?
Freeman: I knew in Spring Training. No one picked us, but we knew what we had in this clubhouse. You could just tell there was a vibe in Spring Training that this team was going to do something special. It didn’t matter who was picking the division winner, we knew we had a real good chance.
MLB.com: The one acquisition the Braves made that I like was Josh Donaldson. He made a huge comeback this year. What has he brought?
Freeman: He is fantastic. It’s a dynamic the Braves haven’t had for a long time. The personality he brings to the clubhouse every single day. He has every tool. He wants to play every single day. He is a threat. Before he got hurt, it was him and Mike Trout up there as the best players in the American League. A lot of people wrote him off with [two] injury-plagued seasons. He’s just proven again what he can do when he is healthy.
MLB.com: A guy that you love is manager Brian Snitker. You supported him from Day 1. I’m aware he knows analytics, but he is an old-school guy. He has proven old-school guys can win too.
Freeman: Everything that is happening to Snit, he deserves. He is a baseball lifer. He is a Braves lifer. He has put in the years to have all the success coming to him. He cares more about the person than the player. That’s why we love him so much. Everybody is going to have their decisions, but ultimately it’s how we feel about him in this clubhouse. We would run through a wall for him because he cares about us.
MLB.com: Do you remember the day that you said, "I want Brian Snitker to be my manager for a long time."?
Freeman: The first day he walked into the clubhouse in Pittsburgh in 2016. When he first got the job, we were 9-28. After he gave his speech, I thought we were 28-9. He is a man of few words because he doesn’t like holding team meetings. When he does, it’s so inspirational. He knows how to connect to a person. It has been great since Day One. I knew after that he should be at the helm.
MLB.com: What happened in 2019?
Freeman: I think a lot of things came together for me this year. Having Josh Donaldson hitting behind me starting in May changed [my season]. When you have Ozzie Albies, Ronald and Josh killing lefthanded pitching, the opposing managers would leave the righthanders in because they wanted [the matchup] to face Josh. So they were giving me more opportunities for damage because Josh was hitting behind me.
MLB.com: How much do you want to win the Most Valuable Player Award?
Freeman: Right at the moment, that’s not what you are focused on. When it’s all said and done, it would be great. It’s very hard for me to talk about myself. I hate it.
When you get done with your career and take a step back and reflect on what you accomplished, it would be nice, obviously. But the only goal is to win the World Series and that is it. Whatever else happens along the way, it’s all gravy. My first and only goal is to win that World Series.
MLB.com: You are not the only baseball player in the family. You son, Charlie, who is 3 years old, can hit. What do you think?
Freeman: He’s righthanded. I can’t help him with his righthanded swing, unfortunately. He is doing well. He loves it. That’s all it’s about right now. We’ll get into mechanics and all that when he gets a little bit older. He is on a good track right now.
MLB.com: What was your reaction when his video was seen on TMZ?
Freeman: Yeah, I heard about it. I don’t have that Instagram or anything like that. My wife likes to put videos on there. I heard he was on TMZ. I guess it’s great to see his righthanded swing. It’s all about the kid loving the game right now and having fun. He has a really good swing.
MLB.com: What does it mean to be a father?
Freeman: That’s what it’s all about for me. That’s all that I care about. [In the past], if I went 0-for-4, I would be pretty upset. Now, if I go 0-for-4 and he’s running into my arms, for me, that’s what life is about—giving back and seeing your kids grow up, become successful. Even though my son is only 3, he just brings joy to me. He is almost to the age where he understands what dad does. So that’s what I’m looking forward to. (B Ladson - MLB.com - Oct 3, 2019)
2019 Season: Before the elbow became a problem and the NLDS proved to be forgettable, Freddie had constructed a strong NL Most Valuable Player Award resume for the third time in the past four years.
“We’re not here today without Freddie,” Josh Donaldson said after the Braves were eliminated. "Freddie had a hell of a year. Sometimes, the ball doesn’t go your way."
Here is a look back at Freeman’s 2019.
As Freeman drove in a career-high 121 runs, he maximized the value Acuna and the Ozzie Albies/Dansby Swanson combo produced at the top of the lineup. His career-best 38 homers and his .549 slugging percentage indicated he had regained the strength that was lost when he fractured his left wrist six weeks into the 2017 season.
From 2018 to 2019, Freeman’s barrel rate jumped from 9.3 percent to 12.5 percent. His average exit velocity rose from 89.1 mph to 89.7 mph. His hard-hit rate increased from 39.8 percent to 42.3 percent. These improvements were encouraging, but they would have been much more impressive had the elbow not become a problem in September, 2019.
Freeman exited August ranked seventh in the NL with a team-best 144 wRC+. Much has understandably been made of how the Braves took off once Acuna moved back to the leadoff spot on May 10. But while Acuna produced his own MVP credentials during this span, Freeman was every bit as productive.
From May 10 through the end of the regular season, the Braves produced the NL’s second-best winning percentage (behind only the Dodgers) and secured a second straight NL East crown. Leading the team in WRC+ during this span were Freeman (139), Donaldson (133) and Acuna (128).
Unfortunately for Freeman, many of the most recent memories of this impressive season have centered on:
What went wrong
When Freeman drilled a pair of homers against the White Sox on Sept. 1, a 40-homer season seemed inevitable. But instead of tallying the two homers needed, he batted .235 with just three extra-base hits (all doubles) over his remaining 81 plate appearances in the regular season. He hit .128 with one extra-base hit over his last 49 plate appearances dating back to Sept. 11.
When Freeman exited a Sept. 13 game at Nationals Park, he revealed that the bone spur in his right elbow had occasionally bothered him over the past couple of seasons. He returned to the lineup the next afternoon and remained there until resting on Sept. 21, the day after the Braves clinched the division.
Freeman experienced more discomfort before making another early exit from the Sept. 22 series finale against the Giants. At this point, the Braves decided it would be best for him to remain in Atlanta while they traveled to Kansas City for a two-game series. The hope was that four days of rest would prove sufficient.
But when Freeman rejoined the Braves at Citi Field on Sept. 27, it was apparent he was still limited by the elbow discomfort. The four-time All-Star took some hesitant swings, cautiously threw the ball around the infield between innings and held his elbow close to his right rib cage when he ran on and off the field.
Freeman refused to make excuses about his elbow, repeatedly denying that it bothered him as he went 4-for-20 with a homer and a double during the NLDS. He has since had the spur surgically removed. But there’s nothing he can do to avoid wondering what might have been had his elbow never proved problematic.
Freeman had three two-homer games from Aug. 15-Sept. 1. But the most memorable of his 38 homers was the walkoff blast he hit off Brewers closer Josh Hader on May 18.
“That was two of the best left-handers in the game going one-on-one,” Braves manager Brian Snitker said.
At that point, Freeman’s Statcast-projected 391-foot shot was just the third homer Hader had allowed in 169 at-bats against left-handed hitters.
“It’s just a name on the back,” Freeman said of Hader. “It’s just another lefty throwing 94-96. You face those guys all the time. We know he throws up in the zone. I was just looking for something up. It didn’t matter if it was a slider or fastball. I just wanted to get my foot down because you know he has the ride on it.”
Dr. David Altchek removed three fragmented loose bodies and cleaned multiple bone spur formations while performing surgery on Freeman’s elbow on Oct. 16. The Braves' medical staff has been encouraged by the range of motion Freeman has already regained. The veteran first baseman should be able to make all normal offseason preparations and should not have any limitations at the start of Spring Training. (M Bowman - MLB.com - Oct 25, 2019)
Oct 31, 2019: Imagine it's Halloween and you've spent days preparing and assembling the perfect costume. You've spent hours in front of the mirror, getting dressed and applying your makeup. You're finally ready. You have transformed from yourself from a nobody into the spitting image of your hero ... and then you run into them. Literally. On the street.
I don't even know how I'd react. Would I be proud and want to shout and scream and recreate the two Spiderman's meme? Would I be embarrassed and try to hide?
Fortunately, I have yet to have to experience this. But one young Braves fan did while he was out trick or treating on Holloween night. Dressed as Freddie Freeman, the actual Braves first baseman spotted the youngster out on the street.
I think my very favorite moment is Freeman asking, "Are you me?" Because even the impersonatee doesn't quite know how to react.
Of course, watching the video, I now know exactly how I would respond in this situation: with total and complete star-struck brain-lock. Which makes sense. I can barely speak if a grocery clerk asks me a question outside of the usual give-and-take, so I can't even fathom how I'd respond to my hero approaching me on the street and asking me for a picture.
Sure enough, the kid was thrilled. If only all our Halloween dreams turned out this way.
"This is my son and he was in shock/star struck that he came face to face with the real Freddie, who could not have been nicer! Go Braves!" said Rachel Barr. (CUT4 - MLB.com - Nov 1, 2019)
Jan 25, 2020: Freddie arrived at ChopFest feeling thankful that he no longer has to rely on the heavy doses of pain medication that allowed him to gut his way through last year’s NLDS and all of the offseasons in which he was burdened by discomfort in his right elbow.
“It’s the first time in nine years I haven’t had any pain in the offseason,” Freeman said. “Usually, I’m taking about four extra-strength Tylenol right now when I’m hitting. I used to think it was because I was getting used to hitting again. But come to find out, there was a little more to it.”
Four days after having to face the fact that his struggles contributed to the Braves’ inability to get past the Cardinals in the NLDS, Freeman traveled to New York to have a bone spur removed from the elbow. Multiple X-rays and MRIs completed over the previous two months had shown the spur was causing the discomfort.
But when Dr. David Altchek performed the surgery, he found three fragments and two spurs, including one that was about to crack and create even greater discomfort. Altchek determined that Freeman likely would not have been able to play in the NL Championship Series had the Braves advanced past the Cardinals.
“[Dr. Altchek] said, 'I don’t know how you played with this,' and I said, 'Doc, well I didn’t play very well,'” Freeman said.
Although the hitting and throwing exercises he's completed over the past six weeks have Freeman feeling better than he has in nearly a decade, he might never separate himself from the mental anguish he feels when he wonders what might have been after the division-rival Nationals rolled toward a World Series title. The Braves had won 11 of the final 16 games they played against the Nats last season, and had reason to believe they were capable of winning it all.
Freeman’s elbow had occasionally bothered him over the past few years, but the discomfort started to increase this past August. When an X-ray showed the spur, the hope was that the discomfort would subside and eventually disappear, like it had so often in the past. But the discomfort was only manageable until Sept. 12, when Freeman awoke in his Philadelphia hotel room and realized he could not raise his arm to wash his hair.
“I think everybody knows it takes a lot to get me out of the lineup, but it still wasn’t enough,” he said. “I was taking a lot of pain medication. I was feeling pain-free in the playoffs because I had a lot of medication going. I just didn’t play well. That’s on me. I’m never going to blame anything on the elbow. If I’m in the lineup, I expect to play well. I unfortunately did not.” (M Bowman - MLB.com - Jan 25, 2020)
March 18, 2020: Freeman will donate $125,000 to aid three charities in their efforts to assist those affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Freeman will donate $50,000 to the Atlanta Food Bank, $50,000 to Giving Kitchen and $25,000 to the Salvation Army.
Freeman’s donation to Giving Kitchen will aid over 30 food service workers with utility and rent. This Atlanta-based charity pays living expenses for food service workers who are sick, injured, experiencing a housing crisis or suffering from the death of a family member.
Freeman’s donation to the Atlanta Food Bank will provide at least 200,000 meals. This charitable organization is currently partnering with schools to assist students who have lost access to free and reduced priced meals. Atlanta Public Schools, Clayton County Schools, DeKalb County Schools, Fulton County Schools and Marietta City Schools are among those already working with this charity to provide grocery boxes that will supply affected families with at least three days’ worth of food per week.
The Braves announced that they, in concert with all 30 Major League clubs, will donate $1 million to assist thousands of ballpark staff impacted by the delayed start of the 2020 season. Through the Braves Foundation, the organization has created a fund to assist game-day workers and certain other affected members of the baseball community with special financial needs that may arise before play begins. (M Bowman - MLB.com - March 18, 2020)
March 22, 2020: Baseball has been put on hold for the foreseeable future. Games aren't happening; pitchers have no hitters to pitch to, and hitters have no pitchers to hit against. Well, unless you're Freddie Freeman. The Braves superstar is still getting in some BP, only he's subbed out pitchers like Clayton Kershaw or Jacob deGrom for ... his three-year-old son Charlie.
Freeman hits a backyard dinger off his 3-year-old son. Little Charlie's reaction was priceless. Charlie could barely behold the dinger goodness. Let's hope Charlie, a powerful slugger in his own right, got his dad back once he retrieved the ball from Pluto.
June 2007: Freeman signed with the Braves, for a bonus of $409,500, after being drafted in the second round. Mike Baker is the scout who signed Freddie, who was the youngest player to sign out of the 2007 draft.
February 4, 2014: Freeman and the Braves agreed to an 8-year, $135 million extension.
|DOB:||9/12/1989||Agent:||Casey Close, Excel|
|Birth City:||Villa Park, CA|
|Draft:||Braves #2 - 2007 - Out of high school (CA)|
Freeman is a run-producing machine. He loves being at the plate when there are ducks on the pond. Though he is an aggressive hitter, his excellent pitch recognition keeps him from chasing a pitch out of the strike zone. Freddie's swing-first approach means he doesn't draw many walks. But has a solid two-strike approach.
Freeman has a rather unorthodox lefthanded swing. But it is a sweet, smooth, short stroke. He points the bat head toward second base to start his swing, with his back elbow held high. He has very good bat speed, impressive leverage in his swing, and gets the barrel of the bat on the ball real often. He has developed very good power to the gaps. He is a line-drive hitter who uses the whole field, and is at his best when he is hitting the ball up the middle.
Freddie has good balance at the plate. He has very good strike zone judgment and is disciplined up there. He has a great approach and impressive plate coverage. He doesn't chase much out of the strike zone. Instead, he consistently makes contact for line drives.
Freeman is quite willing to take one for the team. In 2009, he was hit by 18 pitches in the Southern League.
Freeman is impressive in the way he handles lefthanded pitching.
In 2011, Freddie's rookie year, he hit like a veteran. "He changes his approach when he gets two strikes," Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez said. "He really puts his nose in there, and he's looking to make contact. You can see that as soon as he gets two strikes. You can even see him choke up a little bit. You don't see that very often anymore."
In August 2011, Freeman and Dan Uggla became the first members of the Braves to have concurrent 20-game hitting streaks in the modern era. Freeman's streak ended at 20 games on August 7, 2011.
June 15, 2016: Freeman became the first Brave to hit for the cycle since Mark Kotsay against the Cubs on August 14, 2008.
Freddie came to Spring Training 2016 not knowing exactly what to expect from his right wrist, which plagued him much of last year and then severely limited his preparations this past winter. But as this season has progressed, the Braves' first baseman has produced the best power numbers of his career and compiled legitimate National League Most Valuable Player credentials while playing for a last-place team.
As frustrating as this season might have been for the Braves, it would have undoubtedly been much worse without the exploits produced by Freeman, who notched the first 30-homer season of his career and recorded his 500th career RBI during a 7-5 loss to the Marlins at Turner Field. (Bowman - MLB.com - 9/13/2016)
September 24, 2016: Freeman passed Chipper Jones with a 42-game on-base streak, now the longest in Braves' franchise history.
September 29, 2016: Freddie's Major League-best 30-game hitting streak and 46-game on-base streak were both snapped during a 5-2 win over the Phillies at Turner Field. The Braves' first baseman's 0-for-4 performance left him three games shy of matching Uggla's 33-game hit streak, which set an Atlanta record in 2011.
2016 season: Freeman led the majors with a .486 OBP and also led the NL with a .681 SLG.
April 19, 2017: Freeman joined Jeff Burroughs as the only players in Atlanta history to reach safely in 11 consecutive plate appearances.
April 21, 2017: Freeman extended one of the most impressive hot streaks of his career and secured another spot in the record book during a 14-4 loss to the Nationals at SunTrust Park. His third-inning solo homer off Joe Ross made him the first player in Atlanta Braves history to reach safely in 12 consecutive plate appearances.
"What he just did was pretty unbelievable," Braves outfielder Nick Markakis said. "You don't see that too often. It just shows you what kind of player he is and what kind of presence he is at the plate."
Before the record-setting streak concluded with a sixth-inning groundout against Ross, Freeman had collected seven hits and drawn five walks within a span of 12 plate appearances dating back to an at-bat against the Padres. Freeman's streak marked the longest in the Majors since Boston's Dustin Pedroia reached safely in 12 consecutive plate appearances last August. It was the longest by a National League player since San Diego's Brian Giles was not retired over 13 straight plate appearances in June 2005.
"It's one of those streaks you really can't explain," Freeman said. "I've just been feeling pretty good. It was going to end sometime, I was hoping it wasn't going to end tonight. I feel good up there. Hopefully I can keep it going tomorrow. I can't tell you what clicked, it just has," Freeman said. (Bowman - mlb.com - 4/20/2017)
July 6, 2017: Freeman recorded a pair of RBI doubles and became the 19th player to record 1,000 hits in a Braves uniform. He reached this milestone in his 949th game, making him the eighth-fastest player in franchise history to do so since 1900.
Freeman holds the record for the longest home run for the Braves, on June 13, 2015, vs. NYM. Distance: 464 feet. Atlanta's most consistent slugger got a hold of this first-inning fastball from Mets ace Jacob deGrom, pulling it high and deep onto the right-center-field bridge at Citi Field.
- May 19, 2019: Freddie reached a milestone. Freeman’s solo shot off Brandon Woodruff was the 200th home run of his career.
Freeman stands as one of 9 players to hit 200 home runs for the Braves. He joins Hank Aaron, Andruw Jones, Chipper Jones, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy as the only players in franchise history to tally 200 homers and 300 doubles. (Bowman - mlb.com)
June 4, 2019: Freeman’s double was the 300th of his career, joining Aaron, Jones, Andrew Jones, Eddie Mathews and Dale Murphy as the only players in Braves history to hit 300 doubles and 200 home runs.
In 2019, Freeman won his first Silver Slugger Award after hitting .295/.389/.549 with a career-best 38 home runs for Atlanta. He adds his first Silver Slugger Award to the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award.
April 24, 2020: Who has the best hit tool on the Braves? Freddie Freeman:
There was some thought about going with Nick Markakis, who ranked eighth in the Majors last year with an 88.8% contact rate and fourth with a .264 batting average against pitches outside the zone. Markakis gets the bat to the ball more consistently than any other current Braves player. But the hit tool has more to do with the level of damage done against quality pitches. So we move on to either Freeman or Ronald Acuña Jr.
Acuña has the best power tool, but there’s still too much swing-and-miss in his game to say he has the best hit tool. Ozzie Albies would actually be the better candidate, and a repeat of 2019 would push him closer to that distinction. Still, there’s little reason to believe we’re going to see any sudden decline from Freeman, who has consistently hit for both power and average while standing as one of the game’s most aggressive hitters. -- Mark Bowman
As of the start of the 2020 season, Freeman's career Major League stats were: .293 batting average, 227 home runs with 805 RBI in 4,953 at-bats.
Freddie displays very good footwork at first base. He has good hands, quick reactions and quick feet at first base.
Freeman's arm is very strong. Many scouts watched him throw in the low-90s with his fastball and display a hard slider. But Freddie wants to swing the bat, not try to miss them with pitches.
He has excellent reactions at first base. He saves the other infielders from countless errors, picking up throws in the dirt. His hands are soft. And, Freddie throws well for a first baseman—his fastball was clocked in the low 90s when he pitched in high school.
When Freeman got to Single-A Myrtle Beach, then-manager Rocket Wheeler took him under his wing and taught him how to play a solid defense at first base. And Freddie was a willing pupil and is thankful to this day for all that Wheeler taught him.
In 2010, International League managers voted Freddie as the best defensive first baseman in the league.
Freeman has been compared to both Keith Hernandez and Mark Grace because of his excellent defense. He covers a lot of ground.
In 2011, Braves manager Fredi Gonzalez compared Freeman to Derrek Lee as a defender. That is high praise, because D-Lee probably flashed better leather at first base than either Albert Pujols or Todd Helton (who have more Gold Gloves).
Freeman is much more agile than people would expect to see out of a lanky 6-foot-5 first baseman. He has tremendous wing-span.
Freddie has a very good understanding of the game.
Freeman played third base and pitched in high school.
Freddie's glove at first is just as important as his bat for Atlanta's defense. "We always talk about how good our defense is in the infield with [Andrelton] Simmons, but [Freeman] makes a big impact over there at first base," Gonzalez said. "The first base position gets overlooked a lot. They think they are these big guys who have hairy knuckles and are hitting the ball out of the ballpark, but if you look the teams who are leading in defense, they usually have a pretty good first baseman." (5/18/2014)
In 2018, or the fourth time in history, there was a TIE for the Gold Glove Award, with Freeman and Anthony Rizzo each winning the honor.
Freeman finished second in the NL with 12 defensive runs saved at first base, one behind the Giants' Brandon Belt. It's his first Gold Glove Award in nine seasons. Rizzo's Gold Glove Award was his second.
In 2018, Freeman won his first Wilson Defensive Player of the Year Award.
- In 2019, Freeman won his second straight Defensive Player of the Year Award. He's a rock at first base for the Braves, playing 158 games at the position in 2019 and 319 over the last two seasons. That's a total of 2,780 innings at first base.
- Freddie doesn't have much speed. It is his only below average tool. But he doesn't clog up the basepaths. He runs well for a big guy.
- Still he steals a handful of bases every season.
October 8, 2008: Freeman was sent home from the Florida Instructional League when it was discovered he had a cracked rib on his right side.
August 2009: Freddie was on the D.L. with a left wrist injury. His wrist had no structural damage, but inflammation and tendinitis ultimately led the Braves to shut him down when it kept lingering on.
May-June 2010: Freeman missed a week with a right knee strain prior to returning to the lineup June 5.
October 2010: Freddie missed most of the Arizona Fall League season with a sprained left thumb. He began feeling discomfort in his thumb after attempting to make a diving catch during an Oct. 18 game. A few innings later, he aggravated the injury while sliding into third base.
February 28, 2012: Freeman's right knee popped out of place as he was attempting to pick a low throw out of the dirt. The first baseman limped off the field immediately. He was probably going to miss two weeks of spring training.
"I was just doing pick drills and the knee gave out," Freeman said. "The kneecap went this way and I came back in. When I did this when I was playing in Triple-A, it took me two weeks. So that is what we are going on."
The Braves diagnosed Freeman's injury as a subluxed right patella and revealed his knee is stable.
- 2012: Vision problems (detailed in PERSONAL) and an injured finger hindered his season in a major way.
April 7-23, 2013: Freddie was visibly upset that the Braves placed him on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right oblique.
Freeman, who was hitting .417 with one homer and seven RBIs through the first five games, said team management did not tell him before making the decision.
"They didn't even tell me anything," Freeman said. "I don't know what's going on. I'm pretty [angry] right now."
June 18-July 25, 2015: Freeman was on the D.L. with a sprained left wrist.
August 4-19, 2015: Freddie was on the D.L. with a strained right oblique.
March 11, 2016: Even as Freddie spent the past two weeks producing surprising encouragement, there was reason to wonder if his right wrist truly had improved to the point where it would be durable enough to withstand the daily rigors the season might bring.
Freeman was reminded of this when he exited one afternoon's split-squad game with what the Braves termed as discomfort around his right hand and wrist. Freeman made what the Braves hope was just a precautionary exit after he swung through David Buchanan's high fastball to conclude a second-inning strikeout. As Freeman made his way back toward the dugout, he was seen shaking his right hand.
Though it is too early to know the extent of the ailment, this was certainly not an encouraging development for Freeman, who battled right wrist discomfort throughout most of last season's final four months and a portion of this offseason.
May 18-July 4, 2017: Freddie was on the DL with left wrist fracture.
October 2017: Freeman underwent Lasik surgery Lasik surgery to avoid the dry-eye discomfort his contact lenses had occasionally caused on windy days.
September 22, 2019: Freddie remained in Atlanta to undergo treatment on his right elbow, which has been bothered by a bone spur over the past few weeks. The Braves' first baseman is hopeful a few days of treatment will provide him a chance to return to the lineup and then, more importantly, go through the postseason without any further discomfort or limitations.
“It’s obviously not ideal, but it responded pretty well with that off-day,” Freeman said. “So, we’re just going to hope four days off will do the real trick.”
Oct. 15, 2019: Freeman underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow, which bothered him throughout most of September. Dr. David Altchek performed the procedure in New York. Altcheck cleaned Freeman’s entire right elbow joint during the procedure. He removed three fragmented loose bodies and cleaned multiple bone spur formations that had developed. Multiple X-rays and MRIs completed over the previous two months had shown the spur was causing the discomfort.
“[Dr. Altchek] said, 'I don’t know how you played with this,' and I said, 'Doc, well I didn’t play very well,'” Freeman said.
Freeman was expected to be ready for the start of 2020 Spring Training.
- Feb 26, 2020: The Braves are resting Freeman's recently inflamed right elbow through the remainder of this week according to Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos.