Longtime Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan has passed away at the age of 79 after a long battle with dementia.

The Detroit Tigers commented on his passing via Twitter on Thursday morning:

Freehan was a key cog in the Tigers' 1968 World Series championship.  His career stats in his 15 year career are:  .262 batting average, 1,591 hits and 200 career home runs.  He finished second behind Denny McLain in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.  He also finished third in the AL MVP voting in 1967 (Boston's Carl Yazstremski won it that year).

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Before his career with the Tigers, Freehan starred at the University of Michigan in baseball and football.  After his playing career, he was the baseball coach at his alma mater for six years in the 1990's.

He was inducted into the Michigan Baseball Hall of Fame (inside Lansing's Jackson Field) in the inaugural class of 2015.

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