Baseball legend Freer remembered with scoreboard donation – Wadena Pioneer Journal
WADENA — There’s no question that Lyle Freer has been busy on the scoreboard operators throughout his long baseball career.
Freer, a well-known pitcher, longtime baseball coach in Wadena, and 1983 inductee into the Minnesota Amateur Baseball Association Hall of Fame, loved baseball very much. It is said that he enjoyed coaching and sharing the love of baseball even more.
That love will continue with an upgrade to the North Little League Baseball Field on Franklin Avenue in Wadena, which is named after Freer. Freer’s family just donated a dashboard that will be installed there this spring. This is a substantial donation worth over $4,700. Last year, Lyle’s training at Wadena dates back to 2005 and he passed away in 2010 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease.
The Wadena Area Youth Baseball Program has asked the Town of Wadena to assist with the installation of the scoreboard, which was approved at the Tuesday, February 8, council meeting. Wadena Area Youth Baseball will cover the cost of concrete footings, electrical costs and any maintenance cost to maintain the scoreboard in the future. This project would take place whenever that excessive amount of snow finally cleared in the spring.
The need for the dashboard comes after the old plywood version fell apart in the summer of 2021 after 10 years in service. Previously, the sign notation system was modified by hand. This will continue to be used on the Jerry Wegscheid field, which is still in good working order.
According to his obituary, Freer got his start in baseball growing up in Isle, Minnesota. He eventually moved to Wadena to play for the Wadena Chiefs, after training for the Korean War.
Lyle was a starting pitcher and worked his way up to semi-pro baseball when he played for the Fergus Falls Red Sox. After a year of paid ball, he returned to Wadena to impact generations of baseball players. It remained there for 50 years.
Freer began coaching as early as 1957, coaching the local American Legion team and taking that team to the state tournament in 1966, where they became District 6 champions.
Freer coached the local VFW team, dominated every local baseball game, held positions with the Wadena Baseball Board, Minnesota State Board of Amateur Baseball, was an assistant coach for the Wadena- Deer Creek and volunteered for all things baseball.
Wadena Area Youth Baseball president Kyle Dykhoff said he remembers being coached by Freer for a few years. Freer’s final year of volunteering in 2005 was Dykhoff’s final year.
Dykhoff said when Freer died in 2010, it was only natural to name the newly constructed baseball field after him. Dykhoff remembers Freer’s commitment to improving baseball in Wadena and it inspired him to continue that work as well. He believes that without Freer, the state of baseball would not be where it is today in Wadena.
Baseball legends of the future will continue to feel the impact of the generosity of Freer and his family for many years to come.
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