Howard “Ty” Freigau Dies Young: July 18, 1932

Yesterday was the anniversary of the accidental death of a 29-year-old member of the Southern Association’s Knoxville Smokies, left fielder Howard “Ty” Freigau.

Freigau was enjoying some leisure time in a swimming pool at the local country club before a day game against the Chattanooga Lookouts. Diving off a 20-foot high dive, he entered the water and struck his head on the pool floor, rendering him unconscious. By the time his teammates discovered his whereabouts, Freigau had drowned. He was only two weeks from his 30th birthday.

According to newspaper reports, Freigau was married and residing in Dayton, Ohio. His wife was summoned after her husband’s body was taken to the local mortuary.

Freigau was the last man of the defunct Mobile (AL) to remain with the club which was reorganized as the Knoxville Smokies in the Southern Association after the summer of 1931.

The game against the Lookouts was played with the flag at Chattanooga’s Joe Engels Stadium at half-mast in honor of the Smokies left fielder.

During his final game, Freigau had a single in four at-bats facing Lookouts pitchers Clyde Barfoot and Duster Mails. The Smokies won that tilt by the score of 7-3 in the 7-inning summation of a twin bill on July 17. He had five putouts to his credit in that contest.

Freigau was a member of the American Association beginning in 1927 with the second-place Kansas City Blues when he played third base in 97 games under Dutch Zwilling, hitting .305 with three home runs in 394 at-bats. He played for the Chicago Cubs that year as well.

Back in the American Association in 1929 with the eighth-place Toledo Mud Hens under Casey Stengel, Freigau covered the hot corner in 53 games while posting a .346 average in 208 at-bats.

In 1930 he made his American Association swan song as an Indianapolis Indian under John “Red” Corriden as a third-baseman in 98 games and first-baseman in 16 games while hitting .325 for the eighth-place Tribe.

From 1922-32 Freigau’s pro baseball career included seasons with the Chicago Cubs, St. Louis Cardinals, Brooklyn Dodgers and Boston Braves.

He was born Howard Earl Freigau August 1, 1902 at Dayton, Ohio and attended Ohio Wesleyan University in Delaware, Ohio. He is buried at the famous Woodland Cemetery in Dayton.

Published on July 19, 2008 at 5:43 pm  Leave a Comment  

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