As ex-Detroit Tiger Bill Freehan lies in hospice care, wife reveals story of his dementia


A look back at the career of Detroit Tigers great Bill Freehan, an 11-time All-Star. Video by Ryan Ford, Detroit Free Press

Bill Freehan lies on a hospital bed in the middle of the room.

The World Series is on the TV.

“Boston is playing,” Pat Freehan tells Bill, her husband.

But she doesn’t know whether he can fully understand her.

Freehan, an 11-time All-Star with the Detroit Tigers, cannot walk, cannot speak and cannot eat on his own.

“Is he aware?” Pat asks. “I don’t know. Those are the things you don’t know.”

She pauses.

“But his World Series trophy is on the mantel,” she says.

Fifty years after helping the Tigers win the 1968 World Series, Bill Freehan suffers from dementia and is under the care of Hospice of Michigan at his home in northern Michigan.

Pat Freehan, Bill’s wife of 55 years, is his primary caregiver.

If Bill Freehan, 76, was an example of how to play the game the right way, how to live life with character, then his wife is teaching us something even more important. It is a beautiful lesson in sacrifice, love and devotion. She feeds him. She…

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