Reminders of a lost youth

We learned over the weekend about the death of Jim Fregosi, one of those players that I loved in the late 1960s:

"Jim Fregosi, the first star player in Angels franchise history and the manager who guided them to their first American League West championship in 1979, died early Friday in a Miami hospital after suffering a stroke in the Cayman Islands. He was 71.   His death was announced by the Angels, who retired his No. 11 jersey and inducted him into their Hall of Fame in 1998."  (LA Times)

Fregosi was a shortstop who could hit a home run and turn the double play.  He averaged 14 HRs and 62 RBI's between 1964-70.  He is also well known as the man who was traded for Nolan Ryan after the 1971 season.  The Mets did not think that Ryan would be ever be a consistent major league pitcher. Wonder if the Mets fired that consultant after Ryan's 4th no-hitter in first 4 seasons with the Angels?

Back then, when my brother and I were growing up in Wisconsin, we used to buy baseball cards, chew the bubble gum and then attach them with clothes pin to the wheel spokes for that great sound that drove neighbors crazy.  It was what kids did before they found IPods, cell phones and laptop games.  It was a part of growing up.  It was a "boy thing" to do.

Unfortunately, we probably wasted lots of cards, such as Jim Fregosi, Frank Robinson, Boog Powell and Dick Allen with the Phillies and White Sox.  He was Ritchie Allen with the Phillies and Dick Allen with the White Sox but the noise was the same.

Years later, I attended a baseball card collectors show with my sons.  We learned that those cards of my youth actually had value.  For example, the 1964 Fregosi card is currently valued at $49.  The 1969 card that we tore up in the bicycle is $25.  The 1975 card is also worth $25.

One of my sons said:  "Why did you waste all of those cards. You really wasted money".

I responded with this:  "Son you would have done the same thing in 1968!"

Yes, I wasted a lot of money but I'd do all over again.  Loved that sound!

RIP Jim Fregosi.


P. S. You can hear CANTO TALK here & follow me on Twitter @ scantojr.


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