Former Kansas City Royals and Chicago Cubs manager Jim Frey has passed away at age 88 this past Sunday night. Frey who was living in Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida was affiliated with the Somerset Patriots of the Atlantic League since their inception in 1998. A cause of death has not been announced.
Frey spent 14 seasons in the minor leagues but never played in a major league game. Frey played for both the Boston Braves and Milwaukee Braves as well as the St. Louis Cardinals. He finished his career with 87 HR, 387 RBI in 5,367 at-bats.
Frey was named the manager of the Royals following the 1979 season. In his first year with the Royals, Frey led Kansas City to the Western Division title and a three-game sweep of their nemesis New York Yankees in the LCS. From 1976-1978 The Yankees had bounced the Royals out of the playoffs. However, the Philadelphia Phillies would win the World Series in six games.
In the strike season of 1981, the season was split into two halves. The Royals finished the first half at 20-30. Frey was fired just 20 games into the second half when the Royals got off to a 10-10 start. He was criticized for not taking advantage of a team built for speed. Frey was 127-105 with the Royals with one World Series appearance.
Frey was hired as the manager of the Cubs and in his first season in 1984 Frey led Chicago to an Eastern Division title and a 96-65 record. This was the first playoff appearance for the Cubbies since 1945. Frey made this famous statement in Cubs history after winning the division. “This ballclub has suffered for 39 years, and that’s long enough. Everybody said this club had a monkey on its back. Now the monkey’s off.”
The Cubs would win the first two games of the LCS against the San Diego Padres before losing the next three and the series. The Cubs fired Frey as the manager of the Cubs midway through the 1986 season. His final record as Cubs manager was 196-182.
Frey finished his managerial career with a 323-287 record and two division titles.
In a surprise move, Frey replaced Dallas Green as the General Manager of the Cubs after the 1987 season. Frey hired his life long friend Don Zimmer to manage his ballclub. In 1989 the Cubs won the division but were eliminated by the San Francisco Giants in five games in the LCS. Jim Frey was fired after the 1991 season.
Frey was survived by his wife Joan, their three daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.
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