Major League Baseball lost an ambassador and friend of the game this week with the passing of former player and manager Jim Fergosi. Fergosi suffered a stroke on an MLB alumni cruise and was taken off life support yesterday morning. He was 71 years old.
Fergosi played eighteen seasons in the big leagues for the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Pirates. He was a six time All-Star, had a solid career, and was part of the package deal that sent Nolan Ryan to the Angels. Fergosi later went on to manage the Angels, White Sox, Blue Jays and took the Phillies to the World Series in 1993.
Fergosi was a beloved figure of the game but wasn’t so loved among the reporters paid to cover his teams. Fergosi, for lack of a better term, could be a real dick. Chris Jones, a former beat writer who covered a lackluster Blue Jays squad helmed by Fergosi recalls one such occasion where the manager let his other head do the talking.
“One night, after a terrible game, Fregosi was sitting behind his desk, naked, except for the white towel wrapped around his belly. He was smoking a cigarette. We all kind of traipsed in there, ready for Fregosi’s big act. I sat on the low couch in front of the desk. The first couple of questions were lobs, and Fregosi batted them back, building up steam. Then I asked a question — it was about Escobar’s off-speed pitches, which weren’t fooling anybody — and Fregosi rose up from behind his desk like a great blubbery tsunami.
He was hollering at me for my general idiocy, smoke pouring out of every hole in his body. He began taking short steps toward me, where I remained trapped on the couch. He was throwing his arms around and now he was screaming at the top of his lungs. And then his towel fell off, and Fregosi’s dick was swinging maybe two feet in front of my face. It was the closest I’d been to another man’s junk. It was not a happy moment for me.
And it went on, interminable, on and on and on, as Fregosi continued to scorch me, his crotch inching closer and closer to my face. He never made contact, but it was like being threatened with facial assault by a short, fat garden hose. My only comfort, and it was a cold one, was that he’d just come out of the shower.
Finally, the tirade ended, and Fregosi picked up his towel and went back behind his desk.”
God bless Jim Fergosi. A legend in his own pants.