Sports

Karl Lindholm: Middlebury’s Freddy Mosier has played baseball everywhere!

FREDDY MOSIER FIRING a pitch homeward for the Panthers in 2023. In addition to Middlebury, Addison County, Vermont, USA, Freddy has played baseball games in Russia, England, Switzerland, Spain, Italy, Czech Republic, Poland, Croatia, Bulgaria, Slovakia, Germany and Australia.

“I think my passion for baseball started when I was four or five and my dad gave me a baseball card — a card of Albert Belle (a star for the Cleveland Indians),” Freddy Mosier told me over a beer at Fire and Ice last Sunday evening. 

That Albert Belle card initiated a baseball life for Freddy, which has included playing on the Middlebury College team in 2019, ’22 and ’23 (seasons ’20 and ’21 were lost to the pandemic). He graduated last spring and is the assistant baseball coach for the Middlebury nine this year, working mostly with the pitchers.

The Middlebury team is having a brilliant season, finishing first in the regular season in the West Division of the league, NESCAC (New England Small College Athletic Conference), with a 9-3 conference record. Their record overall is 25-9. They are 19-3 after starting the season 6-6.

The Panthers play Trinity in a tripleheader at home this weekend in the quarterfinals of the NESCAC tournament; winning two of three sends them off to the championship (semi-finals and finals) next weekend at Tufts with the winner getting an automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. 

Freddy’s card collection, that started with Albert Belle, was likely the best in the entire country — that is, the country of Russia!

Like so many baseball players, Freddy’s baseball career started with t-ball, his dad as his coach, and then went on to Little League. Unlike most baseball players, this introduction to the game took place in Russia! 

Freddy’s first 12 years of life were in Moscow with his family — dad, mom, and two younger siblings, where his dad was an investment banker. Russia is where his love of baseball was incubated.

He attended the American School of Moscow, 1,500 students, K-12. “When I was eight years old, I watched a men’s league game at a baseball stadium at Moscow State University. I met the coach of one of the teams, and learned he also coached kids.” 

“I joined his team, all Russian kids. We spoke only Russian. We practiced year-round on Tuesday and Friday. We played games against the three other teams in the area and in 2011 came to the States for a two-week tournament in San Diego.”

(Freddy describes his Russian now as “pretty good,” and converses with Middlebury students who know the language.)

“We lived on the top floor of an 11-story apartment building in Moscow looking out over the Moscow River to the Kremlin,” Freddy said. “For my 10th birthday, my dad ‘netted’ the entire roof-top balcony, so I could hit balls off a tee and throw a ball against the wall all I wanted.”

FREDDY MOSIER, ASSISTANT Baseball Coach at Middlebury College this spring, pictured at eight years old (2007) with his Little League Russian teammates at a ballpark in Brateyevo, a town an hour outside of Moscow. Freddy is far right, first row.

That was heaven to a baseball obsessed 10-year-old in Moscow.

When Freddy was 12, his family moved to London, where they still reside. London offered ample opportunities to pursue his baseball passion during his teen years. He played for both a club team, the London Mets, which had teams organized by age from Little League to adult, and played in the National Baseball League.

Freddy competed in six European championships for the Mets in places such as Ostrava, Czech Republic (2015); Gijon, Spain (2016); and Bratislava, Slovakia (2018). He was also selected to play and travel on the British National Team, at both the junior and senior level. 

Middlebury was a natural college choice: his dad, Frank, was a graduate of the class of 1991. Freddy arrived at Middlebury just in time to bear the full brunt of the pandemic disruptions. He essentially had just two seasons of play, 2022 and 2023. He pitched in 24 games during those two years on Middlebury teams that qualified for the NCAA tournament. 

Freddy described himself straightforwardly as “a slightly below-average college pitcher. I played everywhere on the field growing up — catcher, infielder, pitcher, but I wasn’t a great hitter. I figured I had a better chance of playing if I pitched.” 

A highlight for Freddie was the Panthers’ NESCAC Championship in ’22, when he pitched three innings in the semi-finals game, a victory against Amherst. 

After graduating from Middlebury last spring, Freddy headed back to London to play for both the London Mets and the British National Team last summer. The national team lost in the finals to Spain in Prague, Czech Republic. 

DURING THE SUMMER of 2022, Freddy Mosier played for the Pittsfield Reds of the Futures Collegiate Baseball League. Here he’s pictured at Burlington’s Centennial Field with the columnist and his grandson, Dylan Hicks.

Freddy had a particularly good semi-final outing against Germany. “I came in in the eighth with the bases loaded and no outs — and got the last six outs of the game. I got the save and we were on to the championship game.” 

Then, last fall, he contacted an Aussie friend and teammate from the 2016 British National team and asked him, “Can I come play for your team?” So, he traveled Down Under for three months, October to January, and played for the “Surfer Paradise Blue Waves” of the Greater Brisbane League. 

FREDDY AT 8 with his first baseball coach, Alexy Evegenyvich, in the abandoned building in Moscow that the Little League team used as a hitting facility. Freddy is in his full Yankees uniform. During a visit to the States in 2007, he saw his first MLB game in Yankee Stadium at eight years old. He’s still a Yankees fan, alas.

“It was a fast league,” he reported: “We had three guys who threw over 90. We were league champs.”  

His Middlebury coach, Mike Leonard, has this to say about Freddy: “We are so lucky to have Freddy on our staff this spring. He was an outstanding player and teammate during his time as a student, and in his short time here as a coach he has brought so much to our team. 

“I think the wide range of experiences he has had gives him a unique perspective on the game.” 

What’s next for Freddy? Well, more baseball. In a month he heads back to London to his club team, the London Mets, and will play in the tournament against other European club champions this year in in Zurich, Switzerland.  

Then he dashes back to the States to begin the rest of his life. He has a job for the summer with Synergy Sports, which, as he told me, “Builds a database of in-game video of college and pro players. 

“I just set up the camera and video the games,” he said. “I have been assigned the Cape Cod League and am staying with the family of a Midd teammate in Yarmouth.” The 100-year-old Cape League is generally acknowledged as the best of the collegiate summer leagues. 

After that? 

“I’ll follow my passion for baseball at the highest level I can.”

—————

Karl Lindholm, Ph.D., is the Emeritus Dean of Advising and retired Assistant Professor of American Studies. He can be contacted at [email protected].

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