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Meramec Alum Freese Makes Major League Debut with Cardinals

April 07, 2009

David Freese  
Former Meramec All-American David
Freese made his major league debut
April 6 for the Cardinals. (Spring training
photo courtesy of AP)

April 6, 2009, will be a date that St. Louis Community College-Meramec alumnus David Freese will never forget. That’s the day Freese made his major league debut in his home town as a St. Louis Cardinal.

Freese, who attended and played baseball at Meramec from 2002-04, entered the home opener against the Pittsburgh Pirates in the seventh inning at third base with the game tied at 2-2. In the bottom of the inning, he grounded out to third in his first major league at-bat. After the Cardinals had grabbed a 3-2 lead in the eighth, Freese added an insurance run with a sacrifice fly to right for his first career RBI. The Cardinals lost the lead in the ninth inning and fell to the Pirates 6-4.

Meramec head coach Tony Dattoli, for whom Freese played during his two seasons with the Magic, was in the stands watching the action.

“It’s the reason you get in this business -- to help kids achieve their dreams and reach the levels they never thought they could,” Dattoli said. “Having David make his major league debut is a proud moment, indeed, for me as a coach.”

Freese, a Lafayette High graduate, was a first team All-American at Meramec in 2004 as well as the Region XVI Player of the Year. He transferred to the University of South Alabama and played two seasons before being drafted by the San Diego Padres in 2006.

The Cardinals acquired Freese in January, 2008, from the Padres in a trade for fan-favorite Jim Edmonds. Freese produced strong offensive numbers while playing for the Class AAA Memphis Redbirds last summer, hitting .306 with 26 home runs and 91RBIs. He also fashioned a .967 fielding percentage at third base, prompting scouts to advise the Cardinals he was ready for the majors.

The off-season surgery on the shoulder of Redbird third baseman Troy Glaus and his uncertain return opened a roster spot that Freese earned with more offensive production during spring training.

Dattoli thinks Freese’s success is a testament to the Meramec athletic program.

"[Freese's accomplishment] is a compliment to the previous coaches and the institution itself," Dattoli said. He believes it is the success of individuals such as Freese that allows St. Louis Community College to attract talented athletes.