Jim Fregosi Dies: Lifetime MLBer, a Former Manager and All-Star, Was 71

Image: Jim Fregosi Dies: Lifetime MLBer, a Former Manager and All-Star, Was 71

Friday, 14 Feb 2014 12:28 PM

By Ken Mandel

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Former MLB All-Star Jim Fregosi, who won more than 1,000 games as a manager of four teams, died early Friday after multiple strokes a few days earlier. He was 71.

Fregosi died at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami after suffering the strokes while on a cruise with baseball alumni, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

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The Atlanta Braves, the organization that employed Fregosi as a special assistant, said they were told of the death by a family member.

"Jim played a vital role in our club over the last 13 years," Braves general manager Frank Wren said in a statement. "As a senior adviser he was someone you could always pick up the phone and get a feel for the players in the game. He covered all 30 teams for us and was such a positive, knowledgeable resource. He lit up a room and had just great relationships throughout the game.

"When I first became GM, one of the things that made the transition so easy was having Jim as close as a phone call for advice and help or encouragement," Wren continued.

Born April 4, 1942, in San Francisco, Fregosi made six All-Star teams during an 18-year playing career with the Los Angeles/California Angels, New York Mets, Texas Rangers, and Pittsburgh Pirates. He came to the Mets in a deal that sent Hall-of-Famer Nolan Ryan to the Angels.

After retiring as a player, Fregosi managed parts of 15 seasons in the majors and compiled a 1,028-1,094 record with the Angels, Chicago White Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Toronto Blue Jays. He led the 1993 Phillies to a 97-65 record and an appearance in the World Series, where they lost to the Blue Jays.

Fregosi also managed the 1979 Angels to their first AL West Division title.

"He'll be remembered for his vibrant personality, wisdom and love of the game. Our deepest sympathy is extended to his widow, Joni, daughters Nikki, Lexy, and Jennifer and sons Robert and Jim," Phillies president David Montgomery said in a statement.

Fregosi batted .265 with 151 homers and 706 RBIs in a career that spanned from 1961-78. The Angels retired his No. 11 in 1988.

"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 in a statement. "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."

Fregosi is the second well-known baseball player to pass away this month, following Hall of Fame player and longtime Mets broadcaster Ralph Kiner, who died Feb. 6 at age 91.

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