There’s no way to tell whether history could have turned out differently, of course, but Boston fans can be thinking about it again as Cardinals star David Freese continues to make his mark in the postseason.
Freese, who made a name for himself with some of the timeliest hits in MLB history during last year’s World Series run, was very close to playing for Boston, WEEI.com’s Alex Speier reports.
The Red Sox were a leader among the teams looking into Freese in 2006, as he was a fifth-year senior about to wrap up his college career at South Alabama. Due to draft rules, Freese would become a free agent if his team didn’t make the postseason, and Boston had an inside track and knew his bat was likely legitimate.
But before Boston could snatch him up before the draft, South Alabama went on a run and got an at-large bid to the College World Series, leaving him unavailable.
“If we didn’t make the regional, I was probably going to be a Red Sox before the draft,” Freese said, according to WEEI.com. “I was close. Obviously, I’m glad the way things worked out.”
Freese’s MLB career didn’t immediately take off — he was picked by the Padres in the ninth round. He went to St. Louis after the 2007 season, and last year he came up huge in the playoffs, winning the National League Championship Series and World Series MVP awards. He was an All-Star this year with 20 homers and a .293 average, and he’s also been key in the Cardinals’ latest improbable postseason run, as St. Louis has fought from the wild card play-in to beating the Washington Nationals in the division series to a 1-1 tie in the NLCS with the San Francisco Giants.
Freese has gone .386 with six home runs and 25 RBIs in his two postseasons with the Cardinals, including a few unforgettable two-strike at-bats that saved his team and made him the new hero of St. Louis.