Former Angels shortstop and 15 year major league manager Jim Fregosi died last night after complications from a series of strokes he suffered this past weekend. He was 71 years old.
Fregosi is infamously remembered as the piece that the Angels sent to the New York Mets for Nolan Ryan and three other players on December 10, 1971 in what became considered one of the more lopsided trades in major league history. While Ryan went on to be a superstar with the Angels, injuries derailed what had been an excellent career for Fregosi.
During the 1960′s, Jim Fregosi was one of the best shortstops in the American League. He was a six time All-Star, a Gold Glove winner, and finished as high as seventh in the MVP voting. From the time that he became a regular in 1963 through the 1970 season, Fregosi compiled a .271/.341/.409 batting line with 107 home runs and 67 stolen bases. In an era when shortstops played primarily for their defensive capability, Fregosi was an offensive weapon. According to baseballreference.com, Jim Fregosi was most comparable to borderline Hall of Fame player Alan Trammell through age 29. He, along with Bo Belinsky, were the first true stars of the expansion Angels.
After leaving the Angels, Fregosi struggled through injuries which hampered his career. He still managed to reinvent himself as a utility player, playing first and third base as well as short as his career wound down as he carved out an eighteen year career. After his playing days, Fregosi served as a manager for fifteen years, notably reaching the World Series with the Philadelphia Phillies in 1993. He returned to the Angels as a manager immediately after his playing career, leading the team to the playoffs in 1979. His number 11 was retired by the Angels in 1998, an homage to a baseball lifer that gave his all for his team.
The Angels had the following to say in a statement about Fregosi’s passing:
“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.”
We here at Halo Hangout wish to offer our condolences to the Fregosi family. RIP Jim Fregosi, a man who was truly one of the great Angels to set foot on the field.