California Angel Jim Fregosi Rode Two Cycles!

Same Flamboyant “F”
In Today’s Sigs

Six-time All-Star Jim Fregosi was the enduring face of the California Angels franchise in the 1960s.

Forget the anemic infielder stereotype. Fregosi previewed the ideal of what a slugging shortstop could look like.

He surprised me with the explanation of his career high 22 homers in 1970, writing:

“They used a different ball that year!”

Fregosi tasted history twice. He hit for the cycle on July 28, 1964 and May 20, 1968. His memories?

“First cycle started by Clete Boyer dropping a foul ball at third base.


Both cycles ended with a single.”

(Thanks to http://www.retrosheet.org/ for filling in inning-by-inning details. Fregosi “cycled” his team to wins on both days!)

Fregosi knew team owner Gene Autry as a player and manager. What made Autry different from other owners?

“Gene Autry loved the game, big fan, and kept score of every game.”

I’m touched when a former player will add an extra sentence to close a letter, taking a moment to look back on their life in baseball. Fregosi closed with elegance:

“Lucky to be involved in baseball since 1960. Great game and all my friends are involved with the game. Very happy with my life and baseball and working for an outstanding organization like Atl.

Jim Fregosi
#11″

When Norm Sherry Topped Warren Spahn

Debuted at age 27

Although Norm Sherry owns just 18 career home runs, he nicked a future Hall of Famer for two of the dingers.

“Hitting homers off [Warren] Spahn was something for ME. [His upper-case emphasis!] The first one came late into a game at home in L.A. and tied the game up. We went on and played 11 innings before we won. Second came in New York as a Met. Both came off fastballs over the middle of the plate.”

Sherry’s comeback as a major leaguer came in 1976, when he became manager of the California Angels. Although his stint as skipper didn’t last two years, he found a lengthy assignment as a San Francisco Giants coach. His assessment of three big league bosses intrigued me.

“Gene Autry was a real baseball fan and was ever present. Always in the clubhouse before the game and after. A real super man.

The owners that I played for? Walter O’Malley was a very nice man. They just didn’t pay well in those days.

At S.F., Bob Lurie was the best. Very serious.”

Tomorrow: a letter from the heart and soul of the 1960s California Angels, Jim Fregosi

Paul Schaal Remains Royally Grateful

All-Star Rookie Honors,
Airbrushed Cap?

Paul Schaal wasn’t shy at the hot corner. Like so many 1960s American League infielders, he faced a new creature in Astroturf. What infields did he appreciate most? Schaal recalled:

Without me asking, he offered to sum up years in the majors.

To learn more about Schaal, check out this superb profile by Bruce Amspacher.

Kansas City fans appreciated Schaal, too. Enjoy this tribute at Royals Retrospective.

“I made many lasting friends in baseball. Many great memories. I played for two great organizations and two great owners, Gene Autry and Ewing Kauffman.”

“Fenway and Kansas City were favorites. Always played a step or two back on turf.”

New baseball stamps coming!


I just saw this great pair of stamps coming in June.

I know, FOREVER stamps seem easiest, protecting against the inevitable postal increases. Adding a penny stamp (or more!) to each envelope is a huge annoyance.

However, I’m a believer that retired players pay attention.

In fact, I’ll be grabbing a quantity of the cowboy stamps, too. I’d say that nearly all baseball alums age 70 and above are likely to smile when seeing Roy Rogers or Gene Autry again. (Maybe the younger retirees played for Autry?!?)

I could send out more letters each week. Unfortunately, my increased quantity would make my quality suffer. I try to make every contact count.

I want each baseball name I contact to know I’m a person. I am not a robotic autograph collector mass-mailing the multitudes. A thoughtful effort heightens my chances for a personalized response.

How do you stand out in a former player’s mailbox?

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