Most knew him as “Bernie” Friberg–his birth name was Gustaf Bernhard Friberg. He was born in 1899 in Manchester, New Hampshire the son of Gustaf Albert & Jenny (Roslin) Friberg, Swedish immigrants.
He was both an infielder and outfielder, signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1918 and later played with the Dodgers, Philadelphia Phillies (1924-1932) and Red Sox (1933). This was followed by the Pacific Coast League in Hollywood, California.
The SABR project [Editor’s note: the SABR project’s story is an amazing piece of research and a must read] states that Bernie attended Ingalls Grammar School in Lynn, Massachusetts, where he reportedly excelled in baseball.
Bernie was also a star athlete (track, football and baseball) at Lynn English High School and later played with the Cornet All-Stars, a semi-pro baseballs team in Lynn, MA. He was employed at the General Electric River Works plant.
In 1917, at the age of nineteen, Bernie Friberg was invited to play for the Chicago Cubs. He was considered a utility player, or “one who can play several positions competently.” From there he went on to play for both minor and major leagues. He was fourteen year major leaguer, played every position during his career. Five-time .300 hitter, he had a lifetime big league average of .281 with Cubs, Phils and Red Sox.
=====PARTIAL GENEALOGY OF BERNIE FRIBERG=====
Peter Friberg, son of — and –; b. Sweden, d. –; married Anna/Annie Magunson/Manginson.
Children of Peter & Anna/Annie (Mangunson/Maginson) Johnson-Friberg:
1. +John F. Oscar Friberg, b 1 March 1865 in Sweden
2. +Gustaf/Gustave Albert Friberg, b 20 Sep 1870 in Sweden
John F.Oscar Friberg, son of Peter & Anna (Magunson) Friberg b 1 March 1865 in Sweden and d. 3 Oct 1933 in Manchester NH; he married 26 Dec 1891 in Manchester NH to Hama/Hanna Hokanson, dau of Anders & Anna (?) Hokanson. She was b. abt 1861-63 in Sweden, and died 16 Jan 1897 in Manchester NH, age 34. He married 2nd) 28 Nov 1900 in Manchester NH to Olga Teckla Lindahl, dau of John & Elizabeth (Anderson) Lindahl. She was b abt 1872. Came to Manchester in 1890. In 1918 the city directory calls him a shoemaker and places him at 382 Myrtle Street.
1919 Manchester (NH) City Directory
Friberg, John F O (Olga T.) shoemaker h 782 Hall
Gustaf/Gustave Albert Friberg, son of Peter & Anne (Manginson) Friberg, b. 20 Sep 1870 in Sweden, d. 25 September 1920 in E. Saugus MA; he married Jenny/Jennie Josefsdotter (Roslin was an assumed name by her brother when he immigrated). She was b abt 1865 in Sweden and died –. Buried Pine Grove Cemetery in Lynn MA.
1900 US Census > NH > Hillsborough > Manchester > 283 East High Street
Freberg, Gustaf Head Sept 1872 28 married 5 yrs Sweden Sw Sw imm 1891 9yrs Pa operative shoe shop
Freberg, Jennie wife June 1875 24 married 5 yrs imm 1893 7 yrs
Freberg, Ebba daughter June 1896 3 single NH Swe Swe
Freberg, Bernhard son Aug 1899 9/12 single NH Swe Swe
1910 US Census > MA > Essex > Lynn
Gustaf A. Friberg Head M 39 Sweden
Jennie J. Friberg Wife F 35 Sweden
Ebba L. Friberg F 13 NH daughter
Bernard G. Friberg M 10 NH son
Waldemar Joahnson M 21 Sweden Lodger
1920 US Census > MA > Essex > Saugus
Gustave Friberg M 49 Sweden
Jennie Friberg F 44 Sweden
Christine Swanson F 76 Sweden
Children of Gustaf A. & Jenny j. (Roslin) Friberg:
1. Ebba Grace P. Friberg, b. 9 June 1896 In Manchester NH
2. +Gustaf Bernhard “Barney” Friberg, b. 18 August 1899 Manchester NH
3. Paul O.G. Friberg, b. abt 1904 Manchester NH; died 24 Feb 1907 in Lynn MA, age 3 yrs. [12 Acorn Street, Lynn MA]
Gustaf Bernhard “Barney” Friberg, son of Gustaf Albert & Jenny/Jennie (Josefsdotter) Friberg, born 18 August 1899 Manchester, Hillsborough Co., NH and died 8 December 1958 Swampscott MA. He is buried in Pine Grove Cemetery, Lynn MA, Plot: Thorn Avenue,lot-1068,Grave-3. He married before May 4, 1920 to Ruth Bernice Call. She b 1899 in MA and died July 1987, buried Pine Grove Cemetery Lynnl MA. [corrected]
Birth Record: Gustaf Bernhard Friberg
born August 18, 1899 Manchester NH
Father’s name: Gustaf Albert Friberg
b. Sweden, age 28, residing Manchester NH
Mother’s Maiden Name: Jenny Roslin
Birthplace: Sweden, age 24
Clara Idman MD reported the birth
Monday, July 21, 1919 Boston Herald (Boston MA), page 6
CUBS AFTER FRIBERG
According to reports from Lynn, the Chicago Cubs have been making overtures to Bernie Friberg, former Lynn English athlete. It is reported that Fred Mitchell has offered Friberg an attractive contract to report immediately. Friberg is playing at present with the Cornet Stars of Lynn.
[peering into the past graphic]
Nevada State Journal May 4, 1920, page 5
YOUNGEST OF CUBS MAKES FANS NOTICE
Bernard Friberg is Nineteen and Married and is Making Distinct Hit
Chicago, May 3.– Introducing Bernard A. Frieberg. Club “cublet” and rookie infielder and outfielder of the Clan Mitchell. Despite the fact that he has lived but 19 years, this young fellow gives every promise of breaking into print on the sporting pages quite frequently this season, and for some seasons thereafter, for he has been officially adopted as a member of the Cub family. Just how close Frieberg came to starting his major league career in Boston he will perhaps never know. But the fact remains that he was gobbled up by a scout for the Cubs while playing with a Lynn (Mass.) semi-pro aggregation–copped right from under the nose of George Tallings, as it were, and that at a time when Stallings was getting ready to make him an offer. Bernard isn’t particular where he plays on a ball club. He has formed no attachment for any one position and can perform equally well on the infield and in the garden. This makes him a rather valuable young Cub student to have on the bench, and Manager Mitchell means to devote a lot of time this summer prepping him for a regular job with the Cubs in the future. In addition to being a good infielder and a hard hitter, Frieberg is a sprinter, hurdler, and football player of note. He has grown to a height of six feet and he is brawny to match, and somewhat raw-boned. He was born in Manchester, N.H. August 18, 1899. He is a right-handed batsman and throws in the same way. In condition he weighs 178 pounds, and when he puts that 178 pounds behind a bat and the bat connects with a baseball–well that baseball takes a ride. We’ll say it does. Frieberg, though youthful, is married, and this is just one more incentive for him to make good with a van. Manager Mitchell believes he will.
January 5, 1933, Springfield Republican (Springfield MA) page 11
FRIBERG GIVEN RELEASE BY QUAKER CITY NINE
Philadelphia, Jan 4–(AP)–Bernie Friberg for the last eight years a familiar figure in the Philadelphia National league club infield, was given his unconditional release today. Friberg came to the Phils eight years ago from the Chicago Cubs for the waiver price. He had been four seasons with the Cubs and this 12 years of major league service entitled him to unconditional release. He has played all four infield positions on the Phillies. Friberg is 32 years old. His home is in Swampscott, Mass.
January 8, 1933 Boston Herald (Boston MA), page 30
SOX SIGN BERNIE FRIBERG
Yesterday saw the Sox also sign Free Agent Bernie Friberg of Swampscott, an experienced big league utility man of much value. Bernie was released recently by the Phillies, and, because he had been in the majors for 10 years, was allowed to dispose of his services where he saw fit. Quinn says he likes the way Friberg talks and believes the Swampscott infielder and outfielder will be a valuable player to have around. Bernie likes the diea of playing so close to his home and believes that he can hammer out a regular position with the Red Sox. Strange to relate, the Braves offered Friberg a contract yesterday, but Bernie took the Red Sox offer before he received the proposition from Judge Fuchs of the Tribe. In 61 games for the Phillies last season Friberg hit .240 but was bothered by several leg injuries.
Sunday, January 8, 1933 Springfield Republican (Springfield MA)
Boston, Jan 7–(AP) President Bob Quinn of the Red Sox went shopping today and wound up with a utility man and a catcher. The men were Bernie Friberg, late of the Phillies, and Mervin Shea, a 31-year-old catcher who has been with Louisville of the American association for the past few years. Friberg was made a free agent by the Phillies after 13 years of service with Chicago and Philadelphia of the National league. He lives in nearby Swampscott. Friberg will be a candidate for one of the Red Sox’s weakest spots, second base.
1940 US Census > MA > Essex > Swampscott
Bernard A. Friberg M 40 NH instructor public school
Ruth B. Friberg F 40 Massachusetts wife hospital bookkeeper
William B Friberg M 17 Massachusetts son
Robert C. Friberg M 13 Pennsylvania son
Newport Daily News, December 8, 1958, page 2
BERNARD FRIBERG, 59, Ex-BASEBALL PLAYER
Swampscott, Mass (AP) — Former Major league baseball player, Bernard Friberg, 59, was found dead today at the wheel of his automobile which crashed into a stone wall. Police said they believe he had suffered a heart attack. An infielder and outfielder, Friberg was signed by the Chicago Cubs in 1918 and later played with the Dodgers, Phillies and Red Sox. Friberg was a start athlete at Lynn English High School and later played with the Cornet All-Stars, a semi-pro team active in Lynn years ago. He was employed at the General Electric River Works plant. A native of Manchester, N.H. Friberg was with the Cubs through 1924 and then went with the Phillies where he stayed until 1932. He played with the Red Sox in 1933 and then went to Hollywood in “the Pacific Coast League.” Friberg’s widow, the former Ruth Call, and his daughter Mrs. Virginia Carlin, were on duty at Lynn Hospital when police brought in Friberg’s body. Both work in hospital offices. Surviving also are two sons, William and Robert.
CARLIN, Virginia “Ginny” Passed in her home in New Port Richey (Pasco Co. FL) on Jan. 13 (2011). She was 90. Born in Lynn, MA, Mrs. Carlin was the daughter of the late former Major League Baseball player Barny Friberg and Ruth Firberg. Mrs. Carlin was an active member of the Lady Lakers and the Sorority of Angels, both of Beacon Lakes Condominium. She was a member of St. Vincent DePaul Catholic Church. An enthusiastic, energetic and much loved family member, Mrs. Carlin is survived by her husband of 73 years, William Carlin; son, Robert Carlin of Marblehead, MA; daughter Janet Darling of Cape Elizabeth, ME; five grandchildren; 9 great-grandchildren and brothers, Robert and William Friberg of Maine. A Memorial service will be held on Wednesday, Jan. 19th, at 2 pm at Michels & Lundquist Funeral Home, 5228 Trouble Creek Road, New Port Richey. Published in the St. Petersburg Times on January 16, 2011
Children of A.B. “Barney” & Ruth Bernice (Call) Friberg:
1. William Bernard Friberg, b 1923 Lynn, MA; on 20 Jan 1943 enlisted in Boston MA for military service, 1 yr of college, single (at that time). He served in the US Army serving in the Italian campaign with the 10th Mountain Division Ski Troops. He attended Springfield College (VT). He married 12 June 1948 to Eleanor Jean Place, dau of Lt. Col & Mrs. Kenneth M. Place of Swampscott. One son. Lived in Center Ossipee NH. Currently living in Farmington, Maine . In 2011 he received special recognition for his WW2 service.
2. Robert Porter Friberg, b abt 1927 Pennsylvania; resided Temple, Maine. [corrected]
3. Virginia Linea Friberg, b. 1921 Lynn MA; married 27 Nov 1937 at Salem NH to William Joseph Carlin, son of Richard Joseph & Mary Effie (Quirk) Carlin.