MSU catcher, first baseman, comes from long lineage of baseball
Senior catcher and first baseman Blaise Salter was born into a baseball family. He's been playing baseball as long as he can remember.
Salter's father, John, played baseball for Bowling Green. His grandfather, Bill Freehan, was a successful catcher in the MLB and was a major contributor on the Detroit Tigers' 1968 World Series team.
“My grandpa, when I was growing up, was the head coach at Michigan so I got hooked on baseball early and I fell in love with it," Salter said. “Getting a scholarship here was big, it was always a dream of mine to play Division I baseball."
Salter came to MSU, despite his family history at Michigan, Freehan attended UM where he set the all-time single season batting average record in the Big Ten with .585 and he also served as the head coach of the Wolverines from 1989-95.
Head coach Jake Boss Jr. said that the relationship between Salter and Freehan is very tight and that Salter's baseball career is inspired by his grandfather.
“Bill Freehan is an icon in professional baseball, he was a catcher on the Tigers 68’ World Series championship team," Boss said. "(Salter and Freehan) are very tight, that’s why Blaise is a catcher (and) it’s why he wears No. 11 that was his grandfather’s number.”
Freehan hasn't allowed the rivalry to affect his support of Salter and he has been there every step of the way for the senior, joking that you can now occasionally spot Freehan donning MSU gear.
“My grandpa has embraced (me as a Spartan) every step of the way, he said he would support me in whatever I do and he’s actually been wearing some green and white stuff," Salter said.
Salter has a career .309 average and he also took sole possession of the school career doubles record with a current total of 55.
“We’ve been playing baseball here for 131 years and he holds a career record in doubles," Boss said. "To hold a career record in anything after 131 years of baseball I think is something that’s pretty special, it speaks to the type of career that he’s had.”
Salter is approaching the end of his career but he still has a few goals in mind before he is done, Salter wants to win a Big Ten championship to leave a permanent mark on the university. He stressed how great the last four years have been for him as well.
“Michigan State will always be a part of my life, East Lansing is my second home, I absolutely love it here," Salter said. "I love all of the players on this team, it’s been a wonderful experience and it’s going to suck to leave.”
“Playing with these guys here has been the greatest four years of my life, these guys became my best friends they’re a part of my family now, it’s weird to say that I’m a senior.”
With his time as a student and a player coming to an end, Salter spoke about what he would like to be remembered for.
“I want to be remembered first as a good person, second as good player that always works hard, and third as a person that is respected by a lot of people and a player that has fun with everything and lives every day to the fullest," Salter said.