Freeman faces free agency with title in tow

Braves' star first baseman matches club record with five HRs in 2021 postseason

November 3rd, 2021

ATLANTA -- Whatever happens once he hits the free-agent market, will forever be recognized as one of the greatest members of the Braves organization. History will also now eternally recognize him as one of Atlanta’s champions.

More than an hour after homering in a 7-0 win over the Astros on Tuesday night at Minute Maid Park, Freeman was flashing that bright smile he’s displayed since joining the organization more than a decade ago. After the long wait, he was fully soaking in the thrill of helping give Atlanta its first World Series title since 1995.

“I’m still numb, so I really don’t have emotions,” Freeman said. “I’m just kind of trying to tell you guys things about how I feel because I really don’t feel anything.”

Freeman experienced the thrill of catching Dansby Swanson’s throw that ended this year’s Fall Classic. Braves president of baseball operations Alex Anthopoulos viewed this as a fitting conclusion.

“He’s done the MVPs and he’s made money,” Anthopoulos said. “Winning is the No. 1 thing to him. It always has been, to do it for Atlanta and for this organization.”

Countless members of the baseball world had to feel good for Freeman, who has been with the Braves since being selected in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft. He debuted in 2010 and now stands as one of five active big leaguers who have played at least 10 years for a single team when winning their first title. The only players with a longer such streak are the Nationals’ Ryan Zimmerman (15 years) and the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw (13 years).

“He's everything that the Braves epitomize,” manager Brian Snitker said. “I mean, when you talk about a Braves-type player, it’s Freddie Freeman.”

It was only fitting that Freeman showed his tremendous talents as the Braves celebrated their first World Series championship in 26 years. He tallied an RBI double in the fifth inning and homered in the seventh to become the first Braves player with multiple extra-base hits and multiple RBIs in a potential World Series clincher.

Freeman’s five home runs matched Fred McGriff (1996) for the most by a Braves player in any postseason.

“I wish his mom was here,” said Freeman’s father, Fred Freeman, while expressing pride and holding back tears.

The Braves’ first baseman has spent a career honoring the memory of his mother, Rosemary, who died of melanoma when Freddie was 10 years old. She would certainly be proud of the husband, father and teammate he has become.

“The character of the man comes first,” Braves chairman Terry McGuirk said. “That’s what leads our team as a person and in the clubhouse. Freddie is a very, very special guy. We value him so highly.”

Freeman, the 2020 National League MVP, will enter the free-agent market for the first time in his career on Thursday. Anthopoulos has made it clear he would like Freeman back, and Freeman has repeatedly said he doesn’t want to play anywhere else. But with uncertainty looming, there’s reason to wonder if Freeman, at 32 years old, just went out on top while playing his final game for the only organization he has ever known.

Or did Freeman just win the first of what he and many others hope to be multiple World Series titles for the Braves?

“I don’t know what I would do without him,” Snitker said. “He’s my rock.”