Dayton Moore was an area scout for the Atlanta Braves when he stepped into the elevator at the Holiday Inn near Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium one day in the early 1990s. Inside was Jim Fregosi, then the manager of the Phillies and a beloved figure in the game. Moore introduced himself that day, and began a friendship that lasted two decades.
“He was a little intimidating at first,” Moore said. “But he’d warm up to you, and give you what he knew. He’s going to be missed. He liked everybody. He respected everybody in the game. He was a wonderful man.”
Fregosi died on Friday morning after suffering two strokes last weekend. He was 71. The loss hit the Royals family harder than most: Fregosi’s son, Jim Jr., is a special assistant to Moore in the team’s front office.
Moore called Fregosi “Big Jim,” and hit on a familiar theme found in tributes across the baseball landscape in recent days. He referred to Fregosi as a “bigger-than-life personality,” a kind man who was generous with his time and capable of regaling any audience with stories.
“He could talk all aspects of the game,” Moore said. “He was somebody that was very, very special.”
As a player, Fregosi was a six-time All-Star shortstop for the California Angels. He later managed the Angels, White Sox, Phillies and Blue Jays, and led Philadelphia to the 1993 World Series. Once his managerial career ended, he worked in the Braves front office, where he stayed in touch with Moore.
“He had vast experiences,” Moore said. “And always eager to share those experiences with others. And it was always a better day when you got the chance to be around Jim.”