Top 100 Angels: #4 Jim Fregosi

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.

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3 years ago

Awesome series. Down to the top 3. Appears to me that only Trout, Salmon, and Finley are left. Thanks for the trip down memory lane!

3 years ago

Fregosi was always every fan’s favorite player for many years, and there were many including my Dad that hated when Jim was traded, but most will tell you for the next 3 years how we got lucky. Games at Dodgers Stadium had big crowds of 5 or 6 thousand (lol) but it’s true. Jim came into his own there. When the team hit Anaheim the attendance increased and Jim was the All Star SS and fan favorite.

3 years ago

Fergosi begat Nolan Ryan and three prospects in the 1971 trade (my first year of watching Angels baseball). That’s how good he was.

Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  Fansince1971

I was born in 78 and had season seats growing up. Going to season seat holder autograph sessions was such a joy for me when I was like Jr. High age in the early 90’s. The two people that turned me off as Fregosi did for you were Dave Winfield and Jim Edmonds. Dave Winfield took the card I wanted him to sign, folded it in half intentionally before signing it. I never had any intentionally of selling it but it having a big crease in it, like why do that unless you are a big jerk especially when it’s your season seat holders.

Jim Edmonds was nice to the fans, but at the autograph session he refused to sign my card for my mom who went to his line because he said he hadn’t signed that one and he always signed every card first for his daughter. Chili Davis set him straight through, and was like, she’s the reason we have a job, you better sign that card. Jim signed the card, so I have fond memories of Chili. Always one of my favorites.

Donnie Hill’s parents had season seats close to ours and he was always very nice as well. Eduardo Perez you could tell was excited to sign cards and was very affable. Probably why he went into broadcasting.

Trusted Member
3 years ago
Reply to  MH252525

oops wrong spot.

3 years ago

Fregosi always took Bobby Knoop, his longtime double play partner with the Angels, along with him as a coach whenever he took on a new managerial job.

The general manager of the Phillies who hired Fregosi was Lee “Mad Dog” Thomas, a terrific first baseman for the Angels from 1961-1964.

Fregosi was the first in a long line of shortstops the Angels pilfered from the Red Sox. Besides Fregosi, Rick Burleson, David Eckstein, and Orlando Cabrera were all acquired in a trade with Boston. And Gary DiSarcina was drafted out of Amherst in Massachusetts.

Super Member
3 years ago

While playing for Texass, Fregosi — after playing three straight games — demanded, “Bench me or trade me.”