Fregosi was a great player for the Los Angeles/California Angels in the 1960s and later went on to manage them. But east coast fans are more likely to remember him for one of two things.
On December 10th, 1971, the New York Mets sent a pitcher named Nolan Ryan and three other minor leaguers to the Angels in a trade to acquire Fregosi. Although he had been an All-Star shortstop, the Mets got Fregosi with the idea that he could be their answer at third base, and it did not work out well. Ryan became a star, winning 138 games and pitching four no-hitters for the Angels before departing as a free agent at the end of the 1979 season.
Phillies fans will remember Fregosi as the manager who presided over the “worst-to-first” turnaround of the 1993 National League championship team.
“Jim Fregosi was not only one of the most respected men in baseball, he was a great man,” Lenny Dykstra told CSNPhilly.com. “He was a player’s manager. He had that special gift as a manager that made you want to get to the field and play your ass off for him. Jim Fregosi was the reason that 1993 was one of the most exciting years in Philadelphia sports history.”
Fregosi had been good about signing autographs for collectors who wrote to him and asked. I got my 1973 Topps baseball card signed in 2007.
You can follow Paul’s Random Baseball Stuff on Facebook or Google+, see my photos on Flickrand Instagram, and follow @Paul_Hadsall on Twitter, where I talk about about a variety of things in addition to baseball.