The Boston Red Sox signed Jim Fregosi out of Junipero Serra High School in San Mateo, California in 1960. The Angels selected him in the 1960 MLB Expansion Draft. He debuted September 14, 1961 and quickly became the Angels first star. The Angels retired his number (11) in 1998. He is a member of the Angels Hall of Fame.
Jim Fregosi led the American League in defensive double plays twice and he won the 1967 Gold Glove Award. He finished seventh that year in MVP voting. He still holds the Angels franchise record with 70 career triples. At one time, he had also held the franchise records for games played, at bats, hits, total bases, extra base hits, doubles, runs, and runs batted in. All of those records were eventually broken by Brian Downing. His franchise record of 115 home runs was broken by Don Baylor in 1981. While an Angel, Jim Fregosi was an All Star every year from 1966 to 1970.
Post-Angels Playing Career
In 1971, a tumor was discovered in Fregosi’s foot, whereupon the Angels traded him to the Mets on December 10 in the Nolan Ryan deal. Fregosi mostly played third base for the Mets where he struggled because of a series of injuries including a broken thumb. The Mets sold him to the Texas Rangers mid-season in 1973. He served the Rangers as a backup player for five years, usually at first base. He was sent to the Pirates in 1977 but did not stay for long. In 1978, the Angels expressed interest in having him for their manager at the age of 36. The Pirates released him to go pursue that opportunity.
Jim Fregosi was the last of the original Angels to retire as a player. For his 18 year career overall, he batted .265 with 1726 hits and 151 home runs. He had 844 runs, 706 runs batted in, 264 doubles, 78 triples, 76 stolen bases, in 1902 games played.
Angels Managerial Career
Jim Fregosi managed the California Angels from 1978 through the first half of the 1981 season. In 1979 he led the Angels to a record of 88-74 and won the first division title in Angels history. The Baltimore Orioles defeated the Angels in the American League Championship Series in four games. At the time he was replaced, Jim Fregosi had managed the Angels to a regular season record of 237 wins and 248 losses. His record was one win and three losses in the post season.
Post-Angels Managerial Career
Fregosi managed the Louisville Redbirds in the Cardinals’ system from 1983 through 1985. His Redbirds won several league championships (in the American Association). This success earned him the position of Manager of the Chicago White Sox which he held for three seasons. He compiled a record of 193 wins and 226 losses. The White Sox released him at the end of the 1988 season. He came back in 1991 to manage the Philadelphia Phillies, who he managed to the World Series in 1993. The defending World Champion Toronto Blue Jays defeated the Phillies in six games to take home the piece of metal that year. After a few losing years, Philadelphia released Jim Fregosi in 1996. His record was 431-463. His final managerial gig was in 1999 and 2000 where he managed Toronto to a record of 167 wins and 157 losses.
Jim Fregosi was part of an MLB Alumni Cruise when he suffered multiple strokes in February 2014. He was first hospitalized in the Cayman Islands and was later moved to Miami where he died February 14, 2014 at the age of 71.