Former MLB manager Jim Frey, who led the Kansas City Royals to the 1980 World Series, died Sunday. He was 88.
Frey was the vice-chairman of the Somerset Patriots – an independent baseball team that plays in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball. The team announced Frey’s death Tuesday.
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“Jim will be greatly missed and we send our love to the entire Frey family,” Patriots chairman emeritus Steve Kalafer said in a news release. “Jim had countless contributions to the Somerset Patriots as one of our first supporters over two decades ago. We wouldn’t be who we are as an organization without his guidance early on. Not only was he a friend to our team, he was more importantly, a friend to me, Suzanne, and Jonathan and Josh. We will do whatever we can to honor him at the ballpark this season and beyond.”
Frey was the manager of the Royals in 1980 and led the team to a 97-65 record. Kansas City made the World Series but lost in six games to the Philadelphia Phillies. However, he was out after the 1981 season.
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Frey re-emerged as the manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1984. He led the team to a 96-65 record. The team finished first in the National League East but lost in the National League Championship Series in five games to the San Diego Padres. Frey was named Manager of the Year.
Frey would last manage the Cubs in 1986 and did not manage in the majors again.
He helped found the Patriots in 1998. The team is based in Bridgewater, N.J.
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“Jim was a great baseball mind and the person who gave me my first chance in the game,” former Patriots manager Sparky Lyle said in a news release. “He saw the opportunity for me to be a relief pitcher back then and set me on that path. We remained good friends all this time. It’s very sad to hear of his passing. Mary and I send our thoughts and prayers to the Frey family during this difficult time.”
Frey was survived by his wife Joan, their three daughters, six grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.