Sports was an avocation for Rolland Freudenthal, who kept statistics for the Twins, Gophers and Vikings
Whenever the Twins, Vikings or the University of Minnesota Gophers were in action, there was a good chance that Rolland Freudenthal was in the press box with pencil in hand.
Freudenthal was the official statistician for the Golden Gopher football team for more than 40 years, and tallied passing yards, first downs and kept track of other data as a longtime member of the Vikings statistical crew.
"He was faithful and accurate," said Bob Reid, who hired Freudenthal to be on the Vikings stats crew. "He had good penmanship, and everybody liked him. They all called him Rollie."
Freudenthal died of natural causes on Aug. 20 at Golden Living Center in Hopkins. He was 93.
Born in Henderson, Minn., Freudenthal graduated from Gibbon (Minn.) High School in 1933 and from Minneapolis Business College in 1934. His prowess as a shortstop while playing semipro baseball in the Southern Minny league earned him a tryout with the St. Louis Cardinals.
Freudenthal once batted against Hall of Fame pitcher Satchel Paige in an All-Star game, but never made it to the big leagues. Freudenthal's love for sports never waned, said his daughter Karri Hansen of Edina.
He helped start Little League teams in Edina in the 1950s. He also helped build what is believed to be the city's first baseball diamond at the site of the current Concord Elementary School and was an officer for Edina Little League, Reid said.
By day Freudenthal worked in the sales and marketing division of Brown & Bigelow in St. Paul. During his 39 years with the company, he developed strong relationships with an array of clients and won many awards, his daughter said. He also earned admiration and respect from co-workers, who showered him with thank-you notes when he retired, she said.
On weekends and week nights, Freudenthal usually was in a press box at the old Met Stadium in Bloomington or at the U's Memorial Stadium. He was the lead stats person for the Gophers football team from the mid-1940s until 1984. For his service, then U of M Athletic Director Paul Giel named him an honorary member of the Gopher M Club and presented him with a pin. Freudenthal also was a fixture at Vikings games, where he quietly went about his job.
"He was one guy who knew his role and was really good at what he did," said Dave Mona, cohost of WCCO Radio's "Sports Huddle With Sid and Dave" and who also worked on the Vikings stats crew.
During the baseball season, Freudenthal often worked for the Associated Press, delivering play-by-play accounts of Twins games that the news service used to produce game stories that were transmitted nationwide. He also liked hanging out with broadcasters Halsey Hall, Herb Carneal and Ray Scott, his daughter said.
"Sports was an avocation," she said. "He loved to talk baseball."
Freudenthal was past president of the Minneapolis Figure Skating Club. He also was a charter member of Holy Cross Lutheran Church in Minneapolis and later was involved at the former St. Luke's Lutheran Church in St. Louis Park.
In addition to his daughter Karri, Freudenthal is survived by another daughter, Mary Jane Blethen of Mankato, Minn.; eight grandchildren, and nine great-grandchildren.
Services have been held.