Another Greatest Living Player oversight: Jim Fregosi

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More fun stuff continues to spin out of that Greatest Living Player post from the other day. This one comes from Bill Parker over at ESPN’s Sweet Spot, running down a list of underappreciated non-Hall of Famers.  Guys like Dave Stieb, Reggie Smith, Jimmy Wynn and … Jim Fregosi.

As Bill notes, Fregosi definitely should have made the conversation for Greatest Living Angel.*  He was beyond solid at shortstop for the Angels — and was easily one of the best in baseball — during the 1960s.

We forget it now, but there was a time when you didn’t need to hit a lick to play short in the majors.  In 1968 the Tigers won the AL Pennant with Ray Oyler as their Opening Day shortstop. He got 247 plate appearances in which he hit .135 and slugged .186. He was eventually replaced, but in those days it took something that bad to have a manager make such a move.

Fregosi, in contrast, posted nine straight years as an above-average hitter — for all players, not just for shortstops — in baseball’s second dead ball era.  In 1964 he slapped up a .277/.369/.463 line with 18 homers.  Adjusted for era, that’s kind of like the seasons Robbie Cano and Adrian Beltre had last year.

Good stuff from Bill, talking about some of my favorite players in baseball history.

*I think someone mentioned him in the original comment thread too.

A’s coach apologizes for apparent Nazi salute

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OAKLAND, Calif. — Oakland Athletics bench coach Ryan Christenson has apologized for raising his arm during a postgame celebration in what looked like a Nazi salute.

Christenson made the gesture while greeting closer Liam Hendriks following the A’s 6-4 win over the Texas Rangers on Thursday.

Hendriks immediately pushed Christenson’s arm down and cameras then showed him laughing and briefly raising his arm a second time.

Christenson faced criticism after video of the gesture circulated on social media.

“I made a mistake and will not deny it,” Christenson said in a statement issued through the team. “Today in the dugout I greeted players with a gesture that was offensive. In the world today of COVID, I adapted our elbow bump, which we do after wins, to create some distance with the players. My gesture unintentionally resulted in a racist and horrible salute that I do not believe in. What I did is unacceptable and I deeply apologize.”

The A’s called the gesture “offensive” and apologized for it.

“We do not support or condone this gesture or the racist sentiment behind it,” the team said in a statement. “This is incredibly offensive, especially in these times when we as a club and so many others are working to expose and address racial inequities in our country. We are deeply sorry that this happened on our playing field.”

The 46-year-old Christenson played six years in the majors from 1998-2003. He later spent several years coaching in the minors before becoming bench coach for the A’s in 2018.