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Jim Fregosi, former All-Star, longtime manager, dies at 71

By Eye on Baseball staff

Jim Fregosi was a six-time All-Star shortstop who broke into the big leagues with the Angels.
Jim Fregosi was a six-time All-Star shortstop who broke into the big leagues with the Angels. (USATSI)

Jim Fregosi, 71, the former All-Star shortstop, longtime manager, and scout died early Friday morning in Miami, Jon Heyman confirms. Fregosi's death was first reported by MLB.com's Tracy Ringolsby.

Fregosi was hospitalized in Miami after suffering a stroke in the Cayman Islands last weekend while on an MLB alumni cruise, per earlier reports.

From Ringolsby's report:

"He passed away at 2:36 a.m. [ET]," according to Jim Fregosi Jr., the oldest son of the 71-year-old Fregosi. "Went in peace with no pain."

At Fregosi's bedside when he passed away were his wife Joni, daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer, and sons Robert and Jim.

Fregosi debuted with the expansion Angels at shortstop in 1961 at age 19. He would stay with the Angels for 11 seasons, making six All-Star teams and winning a Gold Glove in the process. From 1972-78, he'd play for the Mets, Rangers and Pirates.

In all, Fregosi lasted parts of 18 seasons in the majors, hitting .265/.338/.398 (113 OPS+) with 1,726 hits, 264 doubles, 151 homers, 706 RBI and 844 runs scored.

He would then go on to a managerial career. He managed the Angels for parts of four seasons, the White Sox for parts of three, the Phillies for six and the Blue Jays for two. He won the NL pennant with the Phillies in 1993, when he also finished as runner-up in NL manager of the year voting. He also won the AL West with the Angels in 1979, the first title in club history.

The Angels issued the following statement:

“The Angels organization joins the rest of the Major League Baseball community in mourning the loss today of Jim Fregosi. 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. Jim was one of Mr. Autry's all-time favorite players, and a man who remained in the hearts and memories of long-time Angel fans. 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. Our thoughts and prayers go out to his wife Joni and members of the Fregosi family."

Phillies president David Montgomery issued this statement:

“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. 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.”

Braves president John Schuerholz issued the following statement:

“We have lost a dear friend and a wonderful baseball man. 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.”

In all, Fregosi's record as a manager was 1,028-1,094.

For the past 13 seasons, Fregosi has been a special assistant to the general manager for the Braves.

 
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