Glancing Back, and Remembering Jim Fregosi
Jim Fregosi was the first everyday star for the Los Angeles Angels’ franchise, and he maintained that status for most of the 1960s. Good hitter, good fielder and good looking, he collected hits and fans consistently over an 18-year major league career.
In combination with second baseman Bobby Knoop, Fregosi was part of the American League’s most prolific double play combination.
The Boston Red Sox signed Fregosi in 1960. He spent one season in the Red Sox farm system before being selected by the Angels as the 35th pick in the 1960 expansion draft. He made his debut in an Angels uniform in 1961 and was the teams’ starting shortstop by 1963, when he hit .287 with 29 doubles and 50 RBIs. In 1964 he made his first All-Star appearance, finishing that season hitting .277 with 18 home runs and 72 RBIs.
In 11 seasons with the Angels, Fregosi was an All-Star six times and won a Gold Glove in 1967. He hit for a combined .268 batting average for the Angels. In 1968, he led the American League in triples with 13. His best season was 1970, when he hit .278 and had career bests in doubles (33), home runs (22) and RBIs (82).
In December of 1971, Fregosi was traded to the New York Mets in a deal that brought pitcher Nolan Ryan to the Angels. Injuries limited his effectiveness in New York. As the Mets’ third baseman for two seasons, Fregosi averaged only 73 games a season, hitting a combined .233.
In July of 1973, the Texas Rangers purchased Fregosi, who spent the next five years as a reserve infielder for the Rangers. He spent parts of two seasons with the Pittsburgh Pirates before retiring in 1978.
At the time of his retirement, Fregosi held the Angels’ franchise record in a number of career offensive categories: games (1,429), hits (1,408), doubles (219), triples (70), runs (691), runs batted in (546) and home runs (115). He would later serve as manager of the Angels, as well as managing the White Sox and Phillies.