Buck Freeman

This 5’11” 160-lb slugger preceded Babe Ruth by a generation, but could have been the prototype for the future home run champion. A lefthanded pitcher converted to the outfield because of his outstanding hitting, Freeman was one of the premier power hitters of baseball’s dead-ball era.

In his first full ML season, 1899, Freeman hit 25 home runs for Washington to lead the National League. This total, only two fewer than Ned Williamson‘s record of 27 in 1884, was not surpassed until Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Moving to the Red Sox of the newly formed American League in 1901, he finished second in HR for two years before leading with 13 in 1903. (Freeman and Sam Crawford are the only players to have led both the AL and NL in home runs.) In both 1902 and 1903, Freeman was the AL leader in RBI.

Strong-armed but erratic in the field, Freeman was tried at first base, but was at his best in right field. His heavy hitting, especially in clutch situations, carried the Red Sox to two pennants (1903-04), and victory in the first modern World Series, in 1903.