Don Freeman coached sports in the Battle Ground area for decades and has since become a baseball ambassador by providing equipment to South America and through his coaching of professional baseball in Germany.
Freeman, who has been a coach in Germany since 2009, is currently coaching the Cologne Cardinals.
“My passion is to increase the game of baseball,” Freeman said.
Freeman encourages athletes to give back to their communities after their journey playing sports through coaching, or being an umpire or referee.
Since Freeman coaches baseball in Germany, he also travels to other European countries to attend coaching clinics as both a teacher and a student. During his time in Europe, he said the game of baseball has gained popularity through a slow growth pattern, while soccer remains king. Countries like the Netherlands and Italy lead the way in Europe with the sport of baseball, but the Czech Republic played in this year’s World Baseball Classic and qualified for the next one.
Freeman’s name is forever implanted in both the Washington State Coaches Hall of Fame and the American Baseball Coaches Hall of Fame.
He was the president of the Washington High School Baseball Coach Association and was asked to coach a team from the United States for the Olympic Festival of 1995 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. That led Freeman to become a coach with USA Baseball. Through that, he has been able to travel to Mexico, Venezuela and Taiwan. Following that experience, the MLB asked Freeman to be a part of MLB International, which sent him to Europe multiple times.
“I probably was destined for international baseball. When I was 8 years old, I was playing baseball for the cub scout team in Blaine, Washington and our first game was in Canada, so the first game I ever played was international,” Freeman said.
Freeman’s trip to Ecuador earlier this year was a success as he helped deliver 450 pounds of baseball and softball gear to youth who love the game dearly.
Freeman said one of his favorite memories while in Ecuador originated from a girl and her family who had next to nothing. The girl wanted to be a softball catcher, so Freeman provided her with a new donated set of catcher’s gear.
“You could see the joy on her face. The smile was just imprinted on her face, but more importantly, her parents were standing there and they had tears rolling down their faces,” Freeman said. “You see something like that and you’re going, ‘I got to do this more.’”
Along with baseball, Freeman was also a football and gymnastics coach. He believes that taking part in multiple sports creates more opportunities for people. Those who take part in multiple sports can build passion and expand their social circles, Freeman said.
Anyone who would like to donate baseball or softball gear to Freeman for his efforts, can email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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