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Braves' Freeman hopes to honour late Canadian mother by wearing Maple Leaf

04/18/2015 01:06 EDT | Updated 07/06/2015 10:59 EDT
TORONTO - Freddie Freeman will be taking some time to look around downtown Toronto before the Atlanta Braves play the Blue Jays at Rogers Centre on Sunday afternoon.

But instead of taking in the typical tourist sights, the Braves first baseman has just one structure on his must-see list — the building his late mother, Rosemary, used to work in.

"I'm going to walk around, see the high rise where she worked, take that in," Freeman said prior to Saturday's game against Toronto. "That will be good for me. It'll be special to see that."

Rosemary Freeman, a Toronto native who grew up in Peterborough, Ont., died of melanoma in 2000 when Freddie was just 10 years old.

Now 25, Freeman says his mother's memory continues to play a huge part in his life and his baseball career.

"I know she's watching every single game up in heaven," Freeman said. "I have a necklace that unscrews and there's a piece of her hair inside of it, so she's always with me everywhere I go.

"I just want to make her proud and continue to honour her."

One way to do that, Freeman says, is to play for Canada at the next World Baseball Classic in 2017.

Freeman was born in California and has suited up for the United States in international competitions before but made sure the Player's Association knew about his Canadian roots before the last WBC in 2013.

The two-time all-star didn't play that year — Canada had Toronto's Joey Votto and New Westminster, B.C.'s Justin Morneau manning first base — but he says he's hoping he'll get the chance soon.

"That's always been a dream of mine," he said. "I want to represent Canada so I can represent my mother.

"Canada has some good first basemen in Votto and Morneau, so I might have to just wait my turn, but hopefully I'll get to do it one day."

Freeman blasted his fourth home run of the season in Saturday's 6-5 loss to the Blue Jays on Saturday. In Friday night's series opener, he drove in the eventual winning runs in an 8-7 victory for the Braves with his third long ball of the year.

Freeman had "a few" vocal cousins in attendance from Oshawa, Ont., the same city in which his mother married his father, Fred, a native of Windsor, Ont.

He only just met those relatives in 2013 when Atlanta last played in Toronto, but he says they've been making an impact this weekend.

"I hear them screaming out there," he said with a laugh. "It's been pretty neat."

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