Posted in Autographs, Uncategorized

Autograph of the week: Jim Fregosi

Signed Jim Fregosi 1973 Topps baseball card from my collection
Signed Jim Fregosi 1973 Topps baseball card from my collection

Jim Fregosi passed away today after suffering a stroke earlier this week while participating in a Major League Alumni cruise.

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.

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Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Sandberg headlines annual Lakewood Blue Claws’ Winter Banquet

Ryne Sandberg signs autographs during a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs promotion in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Ryne Sandberg signs autographs during a Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs promotion in 2012 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

New Philadelphia Phillies manager Ryne Sandberg will highlight the Lakewood Blue Claws’ annual Winter Banquet on Wednesday, January 22nd at Woodlake Country Club in Lakewood.

The baseball Hall of Famer will be joined by current Phillies players and Blue Claws alumni Darin Ruf and Jonathan Pettibone. Tickets for the event are $40 and all proceeds will benefit BlueClaws Charities and their Community Partners Program.

To purchase tickets, call JoAnne Bell at 732-901-7000 extension 100.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Marlon Byrd deal likely bad news for Mets’ outfield upgrade plans

Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game earlier this year (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)
Marlon Byrd takes batting practice at Citi Field before a game in 2013 (Photo credit: Paul Hadsall)

If you were hoping Marlon Byrd would return to the Mets in 2014, you got some bad news on Tuesday.

Likewise, if you are a Phillies fan who wants to see the team get younger, Tuesday wasn’t a banner day for you, either.

In another sign that baseball salaries are ascending to new levels of ridiculousness, the Phillies agreed to a 2-year, $16 million contract with a vesting option for 2016 with the 36-year-old outfielder.

Yes, Byrd had a nice year with the Mets and Pirates, but the odds of him duplicating it at age 37 are not great. But I guess the Phillies figured he’s going to be better than Delmon Young, and Byrd is younger than Raul Ibanez.

Hunter Pence‘s five-year, $90 million contract extension with the San Francisco Giants is starting to look a bit less like an aberration… who knows, maybe Scott Boras can get a Jayson Werth-type deal for Shin-Soo Choo after all. There are not a lot of power-hitting corner outfielders on the market, and they seem to be in demand.

That’s not good news for a team like the Mets that really could use an upgrade in both corner outfield spots, and has fairly limited resources to work with.

Hopefully Sandy Alderson will not be left looking at options like Manny Ramirez in his quest to add power to the Mets’ lineup.

Posted in Baseball, Uncategorized

Hollow victories

For all the silly quotes about slides this weekend, the Mets actually took two out of three from the Phillies and spoiled their chance to celebrate their division title in front of the home fans.

In a lost season, that has to count for something with Mets fans.

Dillon Gee showed veteran poise on Saturday. After yielding a first inning homer to Ryan Howard, he held the Phillies scoreless for the rest of his seven innings. I know it’s a bad idea to evaluate players based on September performances, but I’m beginning to think Gee could be a viable rotation candidate next year.

Continue reading “Hollow victories”