The Cove
Deep coverage of the Giants

Former Manager, Giants Special Assistant Jim Fregosi Dies at 71

The six-time All-Star served as a special assistant to Giants General Manager Brian Sabean from 1997-98.

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Jim Fregosi served as a special assistant to Giants General Manager Brian Sabean before taking a managing job with the Blue Jays in 1999.

    Former San Francisco Giants special assistant and Serra High School star athlete Jim Fregosi has died after suffering from a stroke Friday morning.

    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.

    In addition to his 15-year managerial career, Fregosi was a former All-Star shortstop who won more than 1,000 games as a manager for four teams.

    Although he never played baseball in the Bay Area, Fregosi had strong ties there. He played for Serra High School in the 1950s, where he was described as one of the most versatile athletes in San Mateo County, according to the high school.

    In addition to excelling in baseball in high school, he was a star football player, all-league basketball player, and he holds the California Interscholastic Federation long jump record. In 1990, Fregosi was inducted to the Serra High School Athletic Hall of Fame.

    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.

    After he was released from the Phillies, Fregosi returned home, joining the Giants as a special assistant to General Manager Brian Sabean during the 1997-98 seasons.

    According to CSN Bay Area, Giants GM Brian Sabean made the following statement:

    “The passing of Jim Fregosi leaves a hole in the unique fabric of our great game. He was a great friend and mentor to so many no matter what hat he wore. His bigger than life personality will be sorely missed. He was a one-of-a kind baseball lifer.”

    His time with in San Francisco was short lived. He left in 1999 to manage the Toronto Blue Jays and managed his last team after the 2000 season.

    In 15 seasons as a manager, he posted a 1,028-1,094 record.

    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 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 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 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.

     

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