The best catcher in baseball for more than a decade†from the early 1960s to the early 1970s, Freehan is underrated. Some experts rate him among the ten best defensive catchers in the history of the game. Because he played his prime in an era when offense was at a low, his hitting stats look worse than they are. Based on WAR, Freehan’s top three and top four seasons rank higher than those of Mickey Cochrane, Thurman Munson, and Bill Dickey. He was a really good ballplayer.
After the Tigers reached the pinnacle by winning the World Series in 1968. Freehan wrote a very entertaining diary of the 1969 season titled†Behind the Mask, which gives an inside look at Denny McLain and Norm Cash, two of the wackiest characters of that era. Itís not even close to being as revealing (or as good) as Jim Boutonís†Ball Four†(also written about the í69 season), but itís still a worthwhile read.