The baseball world lost a true legend of the game when Jim Fregosi passed away Friday after being removed from life support due to complications from multiple strokes.
Fregosi was a baseball lifer in every sense of the expression by spending 53 years in and around professional baseball. Earlier this month, Fregosi was part of an MLB Alumni cruise when he suffered multiple strokes. The ship docked in the Cayman Islands and he was taken to a local hospital where his condition was reported as stable. The 71 year old was transferred to Miami shortly after, but on February 13th his condition took a turn for the worse and the former All-Star passed away in the early morning of Valentine’s Day.
James Louis Fregosi was born in 1942 in San Francisco and played baseball at Serra High School. He signed with the Boston Red Sox at 18 and was drafted by the Angels in 1960 (according to ESPN.com).
Fregosi played 18 seasons in the majors, debuting for the Los Angeles Angels at the age of 19. He also spent time with the New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring in 1978. Fregosi played in over 1,900 games where he had 1,726 hits, over 700 RBI and was a career .265 hitter. He was a six time All-Star and won a Gold Glove Award at shortstop in 1967.
He might be best remembered as a manager where he spent 15 seasons with four different teams including the California Angeles, who drafted him in 1961. He also managed the White Sox for two seasons and the Phillies from 1991-1996, where he led them to the 1993 World Series. Fregosi and the Phillies would eventually lose to the Toronto Blue Jays in six games, but he will always be remembered by Phillies fans as being a passionate and dedicated manger.
“Everyone in the Phillies organization is deeply saddened about the news of Jim’s passing. We, and so many others in the game, have lost a dear friend,” Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement. “He’ll be remembered for his vibrant personality, wisdom and love of the game.”
After his stint with the Phillies, Fregosi was hired to manage the Blue Jays in 1999. He was fired after the 2000 season despite his team finishing above .500 in both of his seasons in Toronto. He went 1,028-1,095 as a manager.
Since he retired from coaching, Fregosi had been a part of the Braves organization for the past 13 seasons where he served as a scout and special assistant to general manager Frank Wren.
“We have lost a dear friend and a wonderful baseball man,” Braves president John Schuerholz said Thursday in a statement. “The Atlanta Braves will truly miss Jim and we send our deepest condolences to his wife, Joni, his entire family and all of his many friends throughout baseball.”
Though he never made it to Cooperstown, Fregosi’s number 11 was retired by the Angels in 1988. He was a part of the Angels organization for over a decade.
“His contributions and passion for the Angels, both as a player and manager, have served as the standard for others within our organization through the years,” the Angels said.
“Jim’s induction into the Angels Hall of Fame and the retiring of his uniform No. 11, were among the prouder moments in club history. His personality was infectious, his love of the game legendary, and his knowledge endless.”
The former manager and player was 71 years old and leaves behind his wife Joni.