ATLANTA (CBSNewYork/AP) — Jim Fregosi, a former All-Star who won more than 1,000 games as a manager for four teams, died Friday after an apparent stroke. He was 71.
The Atlanta Braves said they were notified by a family member that Fregosi died early Friday in Miami, where he was hospitalized after the apparent stroke while on a cruise with baseball alumni.
Fregosi ended more than 50 years in baseball as a special assistant to Braves general manager Frank Wren.
“Jim played a vital role in our club over the last 13 years,” Wren said Friday. “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.”
Fregosi managed the Philadelphia Phillies to the 1993 National League pennant and the 1979 California Angels to their first American League Western Division title. He also managed the Chicago White Sox and Toronto Blue Jays.
Phillies president David Montgomery said the team and others in baseball “lost a dear friend.”
“He’ll be remembered for his vibrant personality, wisdom and love of the game,” Montgomery said in a statement. “Our deepest sympathy is extended to his widow, Joni, daughters Nikki, Lexy and Jennifer and sons Robert and Jim.”
Fregosi was an infielder in the majors from 1961 to 1978, hitting .265 with 151 homers and 706 RBIs. His best seasons came with the Angels, where he was a six-time All-Star as a shortstop.
The Angels, who retired Fregosi’s No. 11 in 1988, said in a statement Fregosi was a personal favorite of former owner Gene Autry.
“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.
“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 left the Angels in a 1971 trade with the New York Mets that sent Nolan Ryan to California.
Fregosi played in Queens in 1972 and 1973.
Fregosi later played for the Texas Rangers and Pittsburgh Pirates. He began his managing career at 36 with the Angels in April 1978 — two days after his final game as a player with the Pirates.
In 15 seasons as a manager, he posted a 1,028-1,094 record.
James Louis Fregosi was born in 1942 in San Francisco and starred in baseball, football, basketball and track and field at Serra High School. He signed with the Boston Red Sox out of high school and went to the Angels in the 1960 expansion draft.
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