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Biography: Gene Freese

Major League Baseball Player

January 8, 1934—June 18, 2013

1956 Gene Freese Topps Baseball Card, Pittsburgh Pirates, from the collections of the Ohio County Public Library ArchivesGene Lewis Freese (1934-2013) was a third baseman in American Major League Baseball for 12 seasons (1955-1966). Considered a “journeyman” in professional baseball, 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.

Freese debuted in 1955 with the Pirates and did not disappoint as a rookie. The infielder hit .268 with 23 home runs in 132 games, but it was not until his 1960 season with the Chicago White that his career truly blossomed. In 127 games during the ’60 season, Freese batted .273 with 32 doubles and 17 homers. In 1961, he was traded to Cincinnati and promptly played a key role in the Reds’ winning the pennant while establishing several career bests. Freese hit .277 in 152 games with 159 hits, 78 runs scored, 27 doubles and 26 homer runs.

The following spring, Freese broke an ankle during a spring training game and missed almost the entire 1962 season, and did not play in more than 99 games in a single season until he retired following 21 games with Houston.  A member of the Wheeling Hall of Fame, Mr. Freese died on June 18, 2013.

(Text by Steve Novotney for "Legendary Locals of Wheeling." Baseball Card from the collections of the Ohio County Public Library Archives.)

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