Royals mourn Fregosi: dear friend, colleague, dad
Fregosi Jr. works in KC's front office, where everyone remembers his father fondly
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- The passing of Jim Fregosi hit especially hard in the Royals' front office, where his son, Jim Fregosi Jr., is a special assistant to the general manager.
"Our heart obviously goes out to their family, and Jimmy is a part of our organization and a number of us had the honor of working with big Jim," general manager Dayton Moore said. "He's going to be a tremendous loss. He was a bigger-than-life personality and could tell a great story and had a deep love and passion for the game and just a whole lot of fun to be around."
Fregosi and Moore worked together for a time with the Braves.
"He had so many wonderful experiences that he was always eager to share, and he's meant a lot to many, many people in this game. He's been a great mentor to a lot of people," Moore said.
Fregosi not only was an outstanding player, but he also made his mark as a manager for four teams, taking the Phillies to the 1993 World Series, and most recently as a super scout for the Braves.
"He was a great baseball guy, he could talk all aspects of the game," Moore said. "He was somebody very special. He broke into the Major Leagues, I believe at 19, and he never left the Major Leagues. That's obviously a rarity and speaks to his skill and his ability to get along and work with people and bring energy and value to everything that he did. He's going to be missed."
Royals manager Ned Yost, a long-time coach with Atlanta, remembered when the Braves were taking on Fregosi's Phillies, and later saw the results of Fregosi's front-office efforts with the Braves.
"He was a great manager, an old-school type manager, and he was a great scout," Yost said. "A lot of the great things that the Braves have done over the last couple of years have Jim Fregosi's fingerprints on them. It's a big loss to the baseball community."
Fregosi seemed to materialize everywhere in baseball, often holding court in the press box or lunch room before a game.
"That's what a good scout does," Yost said. "Good scouts seem like they are everywhere, and they've got answers for all your questions. They know players -- they've that internal little voice that allows them to evaluate players to a high degree, and he certainly had that."
Mike Arbuckle now is senior advisor to Moore in scouting and player development for the Royals, but in 1993 he joined the Phillies as scouting director when Fregosi was managing the club.
"I was the new guy on board, but I thought he was an excellent manager. He really knew how to handle people and he really handled all the different personalities with the club. I thought he was exceptional at doing that," Arbuckle said. "That '93 club was a classic, with everybody from Lenny Dykstra to Mitch Williams and on and on. It was a piece of cake for him, and he got the most out of every guy, even though their personalities and their approaches to the game and to life were completely different."
Arbuckle also admired the way Fregosi operated during a game.
"He could really run a game. He had a good feel for running a pitching staff. A very good all-around manager, period," Arbuckle said.
Arbuckle brought Jim Fregosi Jr. into the Phillies' organization, where he worked for 10 years as a scout, and three years ago recommended that Moore hire him in Kansas City.
"What a lot of people probably don't realize about Jimmy Sr. is that he was as good a dad as you would ever find. He took care of all his kids, grandkids, he just loved all of them," Arbuckle said. "He was just a good, good person, and the baseball world and a lot of people from a personal standpoint as well are obviously going to miss him."
Moore found that the elder Fregosi was not only talented but a lot of fun.
"It was always a better day when you got a chance to be around Jim," he said.