Monday, May 30, 2011

Jim Fregosi (#5)

Two posts ago, I mentioned that all the Braves' cards were hatless, since the Braves had just moved to Atlanta in the off-season. I just realized that Topps' other lavender team, the Angels, are also all hatless (or with airbrushed hats), as they had also moved from Los Angeles to Anaheim. This is ridiculous, because the Angels had moved prior to the 1965 season. TOPPS HAD ALL OF 1965 TO GET PHOTOS OF THE PLAYERS IN CALIFORNIA ANGELS UNIFORMS, BUT DID NOT!

Jim Fregosi was the last of the original Los Angeles Angels. He was their regular shortstop from 1962-1971, appearing in 6 all-star games during that time.

Jim was signed by the Boston Red Sox in 1960, and after 1 season of class-D ball he was selected by the Angels in the expansion draft. Fregosi spent all of 1961 with the Angels' AAA team in Dallas-Fort Worth, and made his major-league debut on September 14th. He played 11 games with the Angels that month, starting 6 of the last 9 games at shortstop.

In 1962 he was back in triple-A for the first half of the season. His first appearance for the Angels was in both games of the July 1st doubleheader. Jim took over the Angels' starting shortstop job on August 17th, and held it until September 8th, 1971. He played the remainder of the 1971 season at 1st base.

In addition to his 6 all-star selections, Fregosi won a gold glove in 1967, led the league with 13 triples in 1968, and generally was a workhorse for the Angels, making over 640 plate appearances 7 times between 1963 and 1970.

After the 1971 season, Jim was infamously traded to the Mets for Nolan Ryan and 3 no-names. After a year and a half in New York, he was sold to the Rangers, where he was a backup corner infielder for several season, before being traded to the Pirates in June 1977.

On June 1, 1978 the Pirates gave Fregosi his release, so he could take the Angels' managerial job. He managed the Angels until midway through the 1981 season.

Next was the White Sox' manager's job, which Jim held for the second half of 1986 and all of '87 and '88.

Fregosi's longest tenure as a manager was his 6 years with the Phillies (1991-96). The Phillies won the NL pennant in 1993.

His 4th and final managerial job was with the Blue Jays from 1999-2000.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Final Card: John Herrnstein

This is the last of John Herrnstein's 4 Topps baseball cards (#304).

John was signed by the Phillies in 1958, and began his career in 1959 with the class B Des Moines Demons in the Three I (or Three-Eye, or Illinois-Indiana-Iowa) League. He remained in the Phillies farm system through the 1963 season (although playing a few games with the parent club in 1962 and 1963).

In 1964, John made the Phillies at the start of the season. He was the team's primary 1st baseman until Frank Thomas was acquired on August 7th. Herrnstein played in 125 games in his rookie season, with 61 starts at 1st base.

The following season, his playing time was cut back greatly (63 games, 12 starts at 1B), due mainly to Dick Stuart's 1-year stay with the Phillies. John was mainly used as a pinch-hitter in 1965.

Herrnstein did a lot of traveling in 1966. After only 4 games with the Phillies, he was traded to the Cubs on April 21st in the infamous Ferguson Jenkins deal. A month later, the Cubs shipped him off to Atlanta for pitcher Arnold Earley and outfielder Marty Keough. John played 17 games with the Braves, but spent the bulk of the season with their triple-A Richmond team before retiring. His last major-league game was on July 7th, 1966.