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Friday, February 14, 2014

Jim Fregosi dies at 71; first star player in Angels history

Farewell, Jim Fregosi. Think I still have his signed bar napkin.

Jim Fregosi, the first star player in Angels franchise history and the manager who guided them to their first American League West championship in 1979, died Friday in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke in the Cayman Islands. He was 71.

His death was announced by the Angels, who retired his No. 11 jersey in 1988.

Fregosi, who spent the last 13 years as a highly regarded scout for the Atlanta Braves, was stricken during a Major League Baseball Players Alumni cruise last weekend. He was transported to Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami on Wednesday and removed from life support on Thursday.

“This is really shocking, very sad news,” Atlanta General Manager Frank Wren said. “Jim was involved in every player decision we made. He had so much insight, so much understanding of players and how to put teams together.

“He was a real valuable member of the team and just a wonderful guy, one who always brightened up your day because he loved the game, he loved life.”

Fregosi, who was a special assistant to Wren, received one of scouting’s greatest honors, the George Genovese Lifetime Achievement Award, at the 2011 Professional Baseball Scouts Foundation dinner in Los Angeles.

“Every scout loved him — he was a legend in the game,” said Dennis Gilbert, the Chicago White Sox executive and founder of the scouts foundation. “He was a hero for scouts, a really good friend, and as a kid, he was my favorite player growing up. He was the heart and soul of those Angels clubs.”

Repoz Posted: February 14, 2014 at 11:19 AM | 25 comment(s)
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