ATLANTA — Freddie Freeman posted a farewell note to Instagram Wednesday, telling the Atlanta fan base, "I love you Braves Country" and said his time in Atlanta was "truly an honor."
The note recounts Freeman's 15 years with the Braves organization and tells fans: "you watched me grow up from a baby faced kid to marrying my love @chelseafreeman5 and seeing us bring 3 beautiful boys into this world."
"Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a blast to have you cheer for me and I hope I was able to bring smiles to a lot of your homes over the years," Freeman wrote. "I gave everything I had day in and day out and I hope you guys saw that as well. Although our time has come to an end, I look forward to seeing and playing in front of you all again. When that time comes, I hope you remember all the wonderful memories we made together."
I don’t even know where to begin. For the past 15 years I got to be apart of your organization. It was truly an honor. We went through the very highs together and some lows but those lows is what made last year so special. You watched me grow up from a baby faced kid to marrying my love @chelseafreeman5 and seeing us bring 3 beautiful boys into this world. I’m so glad my family got to be apart of yours! To Snit, my coaches, teammates, training staff, clubhouse staff, and everyone who made Turner Field and Truist Park so special for my family and I over the years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. It has been a blast to have you cheer for me and I hope I was able to bring smiles to a lot of your homes over the years. I gave everything I had day in and day out and I hope you guys saw that as well. Although our time has come to an end, I look forward to seeing and playing in front of you all again. When that time comes, I hope you remember all the wonderful memories we made together. I love you Braves Country! Champions Forever!
Freddie, Chelsea, Charlie, Brandon, Maximus
Freeman's future was essentially sealed when the Braves traded for Oakland A's first baseman Matt Olson, a 2021 All-Star who plays the same position.
Freeman had been on an 8-year, $135 million deal with the Braves that paid him $22 million in base salary last year. Negotiations on a new contract, however, seemingly stalled after the team's World Series victory.
He had been vocal about his desire to stay in Atlanta.
"Do you wanna be here the rest of your career?" he was asked during the World Series in November.
"Everyone knows that answer. Did I think I was gonna be sitting here with no contract after this? No, but everyone knows this is a crazy game, crazy business, but everyone knows where my heart is, and it's the Atlanta Braves," he said. "I've been here since I was 17 years old - almost half my life I've been in this organization - so I think everyone knows how my heart is... it means everything to put on that Braves uniform every day, so hopefully I can continue to do that."
Freeman's 12-year career with the Braves includes a wealth of records and achievements that ranks him among the best hitters to ever play for the team.
He was selected in the second round of the 2007 MLB Draft by Atlanta out of El Modena High School in Southern California, and debuted for the club three years later.
He hit 271 home runs while with the Braves, driving in 941 RBIs and collecting 1,704 hits in 1,565 games played. He batted .295 with a .384 on-base percentage and .509 slugging percentage as a Brave. Last season he hit .300 with 31 homers and 83 RBIs.
His honors include the 2020 MVP award, three Silver Slugger awards and five All-Star Game appearances.
Above them all of course, though, is his role in leading Atlanta to the 2021 World Series, a title the team had waited 26 years to celebrate.
Braves general manager Alex Anthopolous, speaking after the Olson trade, choked up and said it was one of the toughest deals he's ever had to make - appearing to acknowledge the implication that it spelled the end for Freeman's Braves career.