After a long battle with Alzheimer's, former Detroit Tiger's catcher, Bill Freehan has passed away at age 79.


The perennial All-Star and leader of 1968 world champions suffered from Alzheimer’s disease for several years, spending the last few years in under hospice care in his northern Michigan home.

Harry How/Allsport/Getty Images

Here is a look at his career courtesy of WDIV.

Tiger's manager, AJ Hinch recalled,

"arguably the best catcher in the history of the organization and deep Michigan roots." Hinch added that he was "A true Tiger."

Freehan is best remembered for the 1968 championship season when he caught 155 regular-season games. He was the runner-up to McLain for the American League MVP award that year.

Selected to 11 All-Star Games, the five-time Gold Glove catcher played his entire career with the Tigers, appearing in 1,774 games between 1961-76.

He was inducted into U-M's first Hall of Honor class in 1978. When he first signed with the Tigers in 1961 he received a $100,000 bonus that his father held until Freehan earned a history degree in 1966.

Getty Images

The Tigers released this statement Thursday after his passing:

"Off the diamond, Freehan made a positive impact in the southeast Michigan community, including as a player and then coach at the University of Michigan, where he changed the lives of many for the better. Our thoughts are with Bill’s wife, Pat, and the entire Freehan family."

Here are a few words from former teammate Willie Horton.