Detroit Tigers: Top 10 sluggers in franchise history

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DETROIT- SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of Tiger Stadium prior to the final baseball game played at the 87 year old Tiger Stadium as the Detroit Tigets host the Kansas City Royals on September 27, 1999 in Detroit, Michigan. There was 6,873 games played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbul streets. The Tigers won the game 8-2. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Gettyimages)
DETROIT- SEPTEMBER 27: A general view of Tiger Stadium prior to the final baseball game played at the 87 year old Tiger Stadium as the Detroit Tigets host the Kansas City Royals on September 27, 1999 in Detroit, Michigan. There was 6,873 games played at the corner of Michigan and Trumbul streets. The Tigers won the game 8-2. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Gettyimages) /
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KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 27: A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 27, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images)
KANSAS CITY, MO – SEPTEMBER 27: A baseball sits on the field before the game between the Detroit Tigers and the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium on September 27, 2017 in Kansas City, Missouri. (Photo by Brian Davidson/Getty Images) /

Bill Freehan spent his fifteen-year career with the Detroit Tigers and was arguably one of the greatest catchers in team history.

Freehan was an 11-time All-Star and five-time Gold Glove winner for the Olde English D. Over his career he posted a .262/.340/.412 slash line and hit exactly 200 home runs. Those 200 dingers put him at number ten on the greatest sluggers in Tigers history.

A native of Detroit, Freehan went to the University of Michigan where he set the Big-Ten all-time batting mark of .585. He signed with the Tigers in 1961 and didn’t break into the bigs full-time until 1963. When the Tiger’s signed him, they gave him a $125,000 signing bonus. However, he made a deal with his dad that he didn’t get the bonus until he finished his degree.

Freehan also took part in one of the most memorable moments in World Series history. He blocked the home plate as Lou Brock was arriving to try and score. Freehan tagged him in the final out of Game 7. SABR’s Bio project gives a perfect quote of the play:

"“What makes [Freehan] so extraordinary is that he plants his two big feet firmly in the ground, doesn’t bother giving the base runner barreling down on him from third base so much as a sidelong glance and plain refuses to budge even when said base runner hits him at midship like a torpedo. “"

SABR’s bio project also notes that in 1968 Freehan caught 155 games include all seven games in the World Series.  Freehan is just behind Lance Parrish on this list. Many Tigers fans remember Parrish as being a member of the ’84 Bless You Boys. Parrish takes the number nine spot coming in with 212 home runs.

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