A Tribute to Steve Freese
Rick Hosea opened Friday’s Blue Pacific Luncheon by honoring Freese. PJ Freese, CEO of Portland Pie, found joy in simple things such as seeing flags waving across hillsides or picking up friends at airports.
In 1997, with college friends Nat Getchell and Phil Pelletier as co-owners, he launched Portland Pie with its inaugural location on India Street in downtown Portland. Now operating over seven locations throughout Maine and beyond.
Early Life and Education
At the 2011 World Series, Freese led his Cardinals team in one of baseball’s greatest comebacks in history, being honored as both National League Championship Series MVP and World Series MVP and earning himself the Babe Ruth Award in recognition.
He attended Lafayette High School and St. Louis Community College-Meramec before receiving an offer to play baseball at the University of Missouri; however, after experiencing difficulties during his freshman season he made the decision not to pursue that option.
With help from Nat Getchell, Freese established Portland Pie in 1997 as a takeout and delivery business on India Street in Portland. Later, Portland Pie expanded with the opening of It’ll Be Pizza dough-making division located in Scarborough. Furthermore, Portland Pie offers scholarships in memory of Jason Fedele who tragically perished in a car accident at age 24.
Freese made his mark as a professional baseball player with his clutch hitting. He played third base for teams such as the Cardinals, San Diego Padres, Los Angeles Angels and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Freese was instrumental in helping the Cardinals claim two World Series championships during his tenure with them, including hitting a game-winning homer against Texas Rangers in Game 7 of 2011. His home run signaled their win.
Freese is an avid music fan and has collaborated with musicians such as Geezer Butler (Black Sabbath), Travis Barker, Mark King of Level 42, Kesha and Lars Ulrich of Metallica (Metallica). Additionally he has made multiple television and movie appearances while sharing a passion for animals by contributing his time to local shelters in his community.
Achievement and Honors
Raymond William Freese was raised on his family’s farm in Cappeln, Missouri where he learned both English and Plattdeutsch (low German). However, farming wasn’t his dream job.
He went on to teach mathematics at Saint Louis University for over four decades – serving 15 as department chairman – publishing nearly 50 research papers, authoring a textbook and mentoring 19 students to their Ph.Ds.
Freese is best known for his 2011 postseason run which helped the Cardinals capture their 11th World Series crown since 1876. He earned both National League Championship Series MVP honors as well as setting MLB records for extra-base hits in a postseason – and is even an inductee into Pittsburgh Pirates Hall of Fame!
Steve Freese was an empathetic and loving individual who cared deeply about animals and the environment. He led an ethical life, believing in traditional codes of chivalry. Always helping out someone in need – whether that meant helping a homeless man on the street or little kids at his local park, Steve had an enormous heart which brought many friendships along his journeys.
On November 12th 2014 he passed away from lung cancer, with his wife, three daughters, and close friends by his side at the time. Even until his last breath he kept them laughing by whispering his fear of missing out (FOMO) even while taking morphine for pain relief.
He was an enthusiastic traveler, enjoying visiting national parks, Ireland and the Caribbean. Additionally, he was a dedicated father and animal advocate.
Freese delivered an incredible performance during Game 6 of the 2011 World Series by hitting a two-run triple off Neftali Feliz to tie the score and send the game into extra innings, eventually hitting a walk-off homer in the 12th to give his Cardinals their first World Series win since 1985.
He joined Jim Edmonds (traded for him in 2007), Hall-of-Famers Carlton Fisk and Kirby Puckett as one of only four players ever to hit an extra-inning, game-winning homer in a World Series.
Freese is an American musician renowned for his versatility as a drummer, songwriter and composer. His repertoire includes iconic bands such as Nine Inch Nails, A Perfect Circle and Devo, which showcased his ability to adapt his playing to diverse genres of music.