Fregosi Accepts White Sox Job and Looks on the Bright Side
Jim Fregosi, saying there is enough time and talent to get the Chicago White Sox into the running in the American League West, Sunday accepted a job as the club’s manager.
“The team is 9 1/2 games out, that’s nothing,” Fregosi said. “I don’t see any reason we can’t turn things around and compete in our division.
“This is a young club, there’s talent here. There’s some speed, there’s defense and there’s power. We have to put it all together.”
Fregosi flew in from Louisville, where he had managed the Redbirds to two American Assn. titles in three years.
He succeeds Tony LaRussa, who was fired Friday by Ken Harrelson, chief of White Sox baseball operations. The 44-year-old Fregosi was Harrelson’s No. 1 choice for the job.
“It’s a pleasure to be back in the major leagues, something I have looked forward to,” Fregosi said. “It’s an honor to be back in the American League where I managed and played.”
Fregosi managed the Angels from 1978 to 1981, winning the AL West title in 1979.
He had turned down numerous coaching jobs in the major leagues because “I’m my own man” and also had deflected overtures to manage clubs like Seattle, Cleveland and Pittsburgh.
“I like this opportunity, to get into an organization where everybody is trying to put something together,” he said. “I did not want to go to an organization that did not feel that way.”
Fregosi will inherit the current coaching staff for the rest of the season with an option “to name the coaches of my own choosing next year. I know all the coaches here.”
Fregosi said he felt “more qualified to manage this time. The biggest difference is that when you are a player, you think you can manage. There’s a lot more to managing than what goes on between the white lines. I learned to teach in the minor leagues. A lot of it is trial and error.”
Fregosi said he is a “player’s manager as long as the players do what I want. If not, then I become a disciplinarian. The biggest part of managing is motivation.
“When I first managed the Angels I had a lot of players that I had played with,” Fregosi said. “Everybody matures. I won’t get close to the players but I will back them.”
Fregosi did not envision any problems working with Harrelson, who has some unique ideas.
“Our goal is to win ball games,” Fregosi said.
He said he will insist that “the players be on time, take infield. I have a dress code and a curfew.”
Fregosi said it was not a difficult decision to accept the job but added that “managing is tough. In 1979 we won a division title, the next year we lost 90 games. I was not mature enough to handle it then. Things have changed now.”
LaRussa had managed the White Sox for a little more than seven years. The White Sox were 26-38 this season under LaRussa who had an overall record of 523-510 record with the White Sox.
A former All-Star shortstop with the Angels, Fregosi had a 237-249 record managing the club. In his 18-year career as a player, he spent 11 with the Angels and also played for the New York Mets, Texas and Pittsburgh. He had a .265 batting average.
Fregosi’s Record as Angel Manager
Year--Finish W L Pct. x-1978--Second 62 55 .530 1979--First 88 74 .543 1980--Sixth 65 95 .406 y-1981--Fourth 22 25 .468 Totals 237 249 .488
x--Hired as manager midway through season, replacing dave Garcia. y--fired as manager midway through first half of split season, replaced by Gene Mauch.
One division championship (1979).