Dodger Thoughts

Jon Weisman's outlet for dealing psychologically with the Los Angeles Dodgers, baseball and life

Jim Fregosi’s Dodger Stadium ties

FregosiBy Jon Weisman

Jim Fregosi, the former MLB All-Star and manager who passed away at age 71, is probably best known for his time with the Angels — but because of the time he was with the Angels, he spent the beginnings of his Major League career at Dodger Stadium.

Fregosi was an expansion selection from Boston by the newly formed Los Angeles Angels, who were tenants of Dodger Stadium a year later when it opened in 1962.

Among other things, Fregosi on September 19 that year hit Dodger Stadium’s first inside-the-park homer. That and other good information is captured by Mark Armour at the SABR Baseball Biography Project:

… Fregosi started his career at about 6-feet and 175 pounds, but he was 6-2, 195 within a few years. With his size came strength and more power. In his first full season, the 21-year-old hit .287 with nine home runs, 12 triples, and 29 doubles. This was in the middle of a very difficult time for hitters, and Fregosi was playing in the pitcher-friendly Dodger Stadium; he hit .315 with six home runs in his road games. “It is absolutely amazing the way Fregosi has improved week to week,” raved Rigney near the end of the season.

In 1964 Fregosi had a breakout season and became a recognized star. In 147 games, he hit .277 with 18 home runs and 9 triples. These were excellent numbers in the 1960s, especially for a middle infielder in a pitcher’s park. He was selected (by his fellow players) to start the All-Star game, held that year at New York’s Shea Stadium. As the game’s leadoff batter, he singled off the Dodgers’ Don Drysdale, and went on to play the entire game. On July 28 he hit for the cycle, backing Dean Chance’s two-hitter and 3-1 victory over the Yankees. …

… “The kid is one of those exceptional athletes who has everything going for him,” said Rigney. “He has speed, size, strength, desire and intelligence. He can be the best. It’s all up to him.” He had come far already, thought Detroit star Al Kaline, who called him “the best shortstop in baseball.” Ernie Banks, former star shortstop for the Cubs, now a first baseman, said, “he’s one of the few who might be able to hit .400 some year.” Playing for a team out of contention, it took a bit longer for the general public to catch on. “If Jim Fregosi played for the Los Angeles Dodgers instead of the Los Angeles Angels,” thought one writer (Frank Deford), “the city would cast his footprint or his gloveprint or something in cement outside of Grauman’s Chinese Theatre.” …


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  1. oldbrooklynfan

    My condolences to Jim’s relatives, love one and friends and may he RIP.

  2. oldbrooklynfan

    Please remove the above comment as it was written in error. I wish Jim Fregosi has a strong recovery. Sorry.

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