Following the loss of veteran pitcher Tim Hudson to the San Francisco Giants and the almost-certain departure of Brian McCann, the Atlanta Braves are looking to first baseman Freddie Freeman to fill the leadership void and become the voice of the clubhouse.
The 24-year-old Freeman has already proven that he has the necessary tools to be the clubhouse chief. Along with teammate McCann, Freeman has been known to police the game, evident during a September altercation with Milwaukee's Carlos Gomez. He is also a voracious hugger, known for his legendary embraces in the Atlanta dugout.
Freeman's athletic ability has never been questioned. The slugging first baseman finished fifth in the National League's MVP race and tied for second in the league in runs batted in. He also finished third, behind teammate Chris Johnson and Michael Cuddyer, for the NL batting title.
In three full seasons in the majors, Freeman has compiled a .285 batting average, with 68 home runs, 93 doubles, and 280 runs batted in.
Freeman, a California native, lost his mother, Rosemary Freeman, to melanoma when he was ten years old. He pays homage to her, not only with his customary hugs, but by wearing sleeves nearly every game, and by volunteering with charitable organizations that spread awareness of melanoma to the community.
Rosemary encouraged Freeman to play baseball, and , following her passing, his father would often use his lunch breaks to throw Freddie batting practice. His father learned to cook simple meals that were healthier than fast food and was also forced to take on household duties in addition to working.
Both parents served as examples of the hard work and sacrifice that is necessary in order to achieve excellence.
Freddie Freeman has what it takes to lead the Atlanta Braves. He has a desire to succeed that stems from a deep-rooted love for his family, a mutual respect for his teammates, and a reverence for the game he grew up playing as a child. His mother would be proud.
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