The Red Sox 1960 Gamble About Young Prospect Jim Fregosi

Evaluating young baseball players is not an exact science, it’s a gamble. One team may see a player as a “can’t miss” prospect, while another sees much less in the same player. This was evident in the beginning playing career of Jim Fregosi. The first perennial Los Angeles Angels All-Star player, later the first manager to lead the team to a division title, and a manager of three other Major League teams; Fregosi เว็บตรง died this past February 4. He was 71 years old.

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In the 1960 American League expansion draft to fill the roster for its first season, the Angels chose two eighteen year olds from the Boston Red Sox farm system; Fred Newman and Jim Fregosi. Overall the Angels mostly chose veterans at the end of their careers (Eddie Yost, Ted Kluszewski, Bob Cerv, Ned Garver, etc.) and others with some playing experience, but who were deemed expendable by other American League teams (Albie Pearson, Ken McBride, Ken Hunt, etc.). Choosing those two young players were the exception to the team’s draft strategy.

Fregosi was left unprotected for the draft and Red Sox lost him to the Angels. There was something the team fail to see that did not get past the Angels as they used him to build a solid team foundation for the future.

Signed out of high school in San Mateo, CA before the 1960 season, Fregosi played his first year with a Class D minor league level team; the Alpine (Texas) Cowboys of the Sophomore League. Playing in 112 games, he hit.267 with six home runs and fifty-eight RBI.

After the season, the Red Sox had to decide if they would protect him from the upcoming expansion team draft. Their main shortstop since 1958 was twenty-six year old Don Buddin. A.246 hitter, Buddin led the American League in errors committed by shortstops in both 1958 (31) and 1959 (35). He was second in 1960 committing 30. There were three other shortstops playing on higher level Red Sox minor leagues teams than Fregosi. By not protecting him, the team made either one of two gambles. Either they hoped the Angels would choose only players with Major League experience and skip over the 18 year old prospect or they believed he did not have the potential to be better than the other shortstops in the Red Sox organization. Whichever was their reasoning, they were wrong.

The Angels’ choice of the young player paid off. Fregosi became a six time All-Star. From 1964 – 1970 any conversation about the best shortstop in the American League had to include him.

For the Red Sox, none of the other shortstops in their minor league system with Fregosi made it to the Major Leagues. They traded Buddin to the Houston 45’s after the 1961 season for 30 year old journeyman shortstop Eddie Bressoud who had a few good offensive years (hit 20 home runs in 1963 and hit .293 in 1964), but was not a long term solution for the position.

By not protecting Fregosi in 1960, the Red Sox delayed having an All Star shortstop for the future. It would not be until 1965 when Rico Petrocelli, drafted out of high school in 1961, would begin his thirteen year Major League career with the team; the first six playing shortstop.

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