"There was no doubt in anyone's mind that he would manage," said Knoop, the Angels' special assignment infield coach. "He would have played as long as he could, but if that career ended at 23, he would have managed then. He had a tremendous passion for and understanding of the game."
"You know what the easiest thing is?" Fregosi responded. "If you don't have any rules, they can't break them."
The players responded, going 88-74 and winning the franchise's first division title in 1979 with stars such as Baylor, Rod Carew, Bobby Grich, Brian Downing, Ryan and Dave Frost. The Angels lost to the Baltimore Orioles in the AL championship series.
Fregosi was fired during the strike-shortened 1981 season. He went on to manage the White Sox (1986-88), the Philadelphia Phillies (1991-96) and the Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000) and led the Phillies to the National League pennant in 1993.
Fregosi had a 1,028-1,095 record in 15 years as a major league manager, including a 237-249 mark in his three seasons (1979-81) in Anaheim.
Fregosi is survived by his second wife, Joni; his sons Jim Jr., a special assistant to the GM of the Kansas City Royals, and Robbie; and his daughters Jennifer, Nicole and Lexy.