The following is a guest article by Howard Lynch.
DAVID JAMES FREISLEBEN | SP | 1974-1978 | CAREER
Dave Freisleben was drafted by the Padres out of a Pasadena, TX, high school in the 5th round of the 1971 amateur draft (96th overall), after being a 2-time Texas American Legion MVP. I can't find a comprehensive tally of his minor league career ... but here are some major events along the way:
- Threw 4 shutouts for the Northwest League's Tri-City Padres in 1971 ... http://www.canadianbaseballnews.com/archives/bluhis.html
... a Northwest League (NWL) all-time pitching record according to: http://vancouvercanadians.blogspot.com/2005/08/northwest-league-nwl-all-time-pitching.html
- Was 17-9 for the Alexandria Aces, then the Padres' Double-A farm team, in 1972 ... leading a staff that also included Dan Spillner (16-7) and Randy Jones (3-5) ... http://www.thetowntalk.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20060523/SPORTS/605230323/1006
- For the 1973 AAA Hawaii Islanders, Dave Freisleben led both the strikeout (206) and ERA (2.82) totals ... http://linkmeister.com/islanders/islhist.htm
- while in the PCL, Rob Neyer reports that Dave's repertoire was ... Pitch Selection: 1. Fastball 2. Curve 3. Change 4. Slider (occasional); Source: The Sporting News (6/23/1973, Fred Borsch); this describes his repertoire while pitching in the Pacific Coast League, and might not accurately describe his pitches afterward, in the majors ... http://www.robneyer.com/book_04_extras2.html.
Dave made his Major League debut with the Padres, at age 22, on April 26, 1974 vs PHI, winning 6-2 and pitching a complete game (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B04260SDN1974.htm
) (note: the game was caught by Fred Kendall ... http://members.tripod.com/bb_catchers/catchers/ushcatch.htm
). In his second start, Dave also threw a complete game, beating the Expos 5-1 and in the process, getting his first big league hit, a double off Ernie McAnally (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B05010SDN1974.htm
). In his third start, Dave beat the Phillies again, this time besting HOF'er Steve (Lefty) Carlton (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B05060PHI1974.htm
). A month of relative-struggles saw his ERA get over 4.00 until he blanked the Cardinals on 6-hits on June 7th (http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B05060PHI1974.htm
The most amazing thing I did not know in Padres' history is what Dave Freisleben did in August of 1974 ... did you know that a Padres' pitcher tossed 13 *SHUTOUT* innings in 1 game? Check out this box score from August 4, 1974: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B08042SDN1974.htm
... OUCH! I'll bet that's the best no-decision start in Padres' history. This was against a Big-Red-Machine team that went on to win 98 games! I'm in awe! Dave followed that outing with a complete game victory over the Pirates ... after a rough outing vs Cubs, Dave then toss'd a 3-hit shutout over the Expos ... then 8-innings vs the Pirates ... and then, he did the free-baseball-thing *AGAIN*, tossing 11-innings of 1-run ball at the Cubs (before getting pounded in the 12th) ... so, for August, 1974, Dave had 6 starts and pitch'd 55.2 innings (averaging *OVER* 9 innings per start)!!! Who knew? You can see all these details for yourself at http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/Kfreid1010011974.htm
... Thank-you, Retrosheet! In retrospect, doesn't this seem like a prime example of why the fuss over pitch-counts has evolved, especially for young pitchers?
Dave's weakness shows, even during this amazing stretch ... it was his control. In that 3-hit shutout of the Expos he issued 7 walks. For the season, 112 walks (in 211.2 IP, with 130 Ks), which was 3rd most in the league (http://users.adelphia.net/~lwfoster/hbppage/recaps/hrec74nl.htm
, wow, Steve Carlton had a rough season in 1974, well, except that he toss'd 291 IP, http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/carltst01.shtml
1974 was Dave's best season, finishing it with a 3.66 ERA ... good for an ERA+ of 97, which led the team (http://www.baseball-reference.com/teams/SDP/1974.shtml
), and he was named Padres Rookie Pitcher of the Year. If you ignore those walk totals, then that 1974 staff looks like it has a *VERY* bright future ... with 125 starts coming from 2 24-year-olds (Randy Jones and Bill Greif) and 2 22-year-olds (Dave Freisleben and Dan Spillner). Alas, only Randy Jones would elevate his performance, and we'll see him much higher on the Padres Top 100 list.
Mid-May of 1975 saw Dave toss back-to-back complete-game near-shutouts (both vs. Cubs, some things never change :-)) ... but after that, his ERA bounced between 3.80 and 4.20 ... finally finishing at 4.28 (ERA+ = 82). He finished the season with 7 out of his final 8 appearances in relief, after August of 1975 not being nearly as remarkable (35.2 IP, 26 ERs = 6.55) ... see http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/Kfreid1010021975.htm
for all the details.
1976 didn't start for Dave until May 24th, but it was still his high-water-mark season for Wins, finishing with a 10-13 record and an ERA of 3.51 (for ERA+ = 93). Despite the late start, it was his typical fast start, getting complete game shutouts in his first 2 starts (vs Dodgers & Giants, for which he was named National League Pitcher of the Week), and tossing a third shutout vs Mets on June 8th, and going 10-innings vs Phillies in his next start! Another iron-man streak there ... 6 starts with 53 IP! ... but then not another complete game until September 18th, with a 4-1 victory over JR Richard and the Astros.
The start of 1977 was ugly, with an ERA of 6.49 at the end of April and an 2-month absense from the mound (a stint on the DL, perhaps?). After peaking at 7.91 on July 3rd, when he failed to get out of the 2nd innings vs Reds, Dave worked his ERA under 4.50 with 3 more 9-inning outings ... but the season ended on a very rough note, giving up 19 runs in just over 16 IP over his final 4 starts. His final line = 7-9 in 23 starts, 138.2 IP, ERA = 4.61 (ERA+ = 77) ... not a disaster, but the beginning of the end.
Dave's final start for the Padres came on April 29, 1978 ... http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/B04290PHI1978.htm
... in which he gave up 7 runs on 10 hits (+ 4 walks) and didn't get out of the 5th inning. After 6 relief appearances, the Padres traded him on June 22, 1978 to the Cleveland Indians for Bill Laxton (who had pitched for the Padres in 1974, but never again made it the majors, http://www.baseball-reference.com/l/laxtobi01.shtml
). Dave got 10 starts for the Indians, but they weren't pretty as he finish his time with them at 1-4 in 44.3 IP with a 7.11 ERA (ERA+ = 53). After this, Dave was subject to these transactions ...
November 3, 1978: Traded by the Cleveland Indians to the Toronto Blue Jays for a player to be named later. The Toronto Blue Jays sent Sheldon Mallory (March 27, 1979) to the Cleveland Indians to complete the trade.
October 22, 1979: Released by the Toronto Blue Jays.
Before 1980 Season: Signed as a Free Agent with the California Angels.
April 1, 1980: Released by the California Angels.
A few moments of note in this career ... he gave up 1 Home Run to Hank Aaron ... http://www.sportingnews.com/archives/aaron/homerbreakdown.html
... and also caught one ... https://www.lelands.com/bid.aspx?lot=646&auctionid=603
:-) ... Aug 29, 1977 was a memorable day for Dave ... http://espn.go.com/sportscentury/moments/9908.html
, he gave up Lou Brock's 892nd SB (tieing him with Ty Cobb) AND 893rd ... with Dave Roberts behind the plate obviously doing the best he could to get into a record book :-)
Here's reference to a few Sporting News articles that feature Dave ... http://www.baseballlibrary.com/baseballlibrary/sabr/tbi/F/Freisleben_Dave.tbi.stm
... these might provide more insight into his health issues.
You can buy a baseball card of his that's got some value, and a reminder that our Padres almost moved to Washington, DC before the 1974 season ... http://tinyurl.com/e6az6
:-) 1974 was the same year that Ted Giannoulas had a fitting for a chicken suit in one of the greatest career moves in history but that was for radio station KGB and the Chicken's fame was still unrealized ... http://www.addictsports.com/baseball/archive/index.php/t-28507.html
You were a stud, Dave ... well done! I wish'd you'd been better taken care of.
PS. Here's some good news on what he's up to now ... he's a golf pro in Texas! Really! He "turned pro in 2001"! Check this out ... http://www.heartlandplayers.com/player_profiles.htm
. I found this site while looking for confirmation that he really did pitch 13 Shutout innings against the Cincinnati Reds in 1974 ... this was proof enough for me (not that I ever doubted Rerosheet). It lists this info about his post-MLB life ...
Married to Melinda, with two children Lindsey and David JR, hobbies include Golf and coaching son David's baseball and basketball teams. Police officer since 1986. Pitching Coach for two years in Texas Ranger's organization.
Futher interesting web pages ...http://www.thebaseballcube.com/players/F/dave-freisleben.shtmlhttp://www.baseball-reference.com/f/freisda01.shtmlhttp://www.baseball-almanac.com/players/player.php?p=freisda01http://baseballhistory.vzz.net/Teams/SDP/1974.htm