Let’s honor Jim Fregosi’s memory by remembering the time he said WIP was a bunch of literal motherf—ers
Feb 14, 2014, 12:17 PM EDT
Jim Fregosi, baseball lifer and Phillies manager for a half-decade in the early-to-mid ’90s, died this morning of complications resulting from a severe stroke, as reported by CSNPhilly. Oldest son Jim Fregosi Jr. says Jim Sr. “went in peace with no pain.” Phillies President David Montgomery commented on the manager’s contribution to franchise history, saying “We have lost a dear friend…[Jim] will be remembered for his vibrant personality, wisdom and love of the game.” He was 71 years old.
Fregosi will be forever remembered in the city of Brotherly Love, first and foremost, for his stewarding of the 1993 Phillies to a surprise National League pennant–the team’s first in a decade, and with a cast of characters like John Kruk, Lenny Dykstra and Mitch Williams that endeared them to Philly fans in a way even separate from the ’80 and ’08 championship squads. Fregosi led a squad that had finished 26 games out of first the year before to 97 wins and a dramatic NLCS upset of the rival Atlanta Braves, though he somehow lost Manager of the Year that year to the Giants’ Dusty Baker.
Fregosi’s future teams failed to capture the success of the ’93 squads, while Fregosi took some heat in the city for his inability to develop younger players (and his decision to bring in an out-of-gas Williams for two games in the ’93 World Series that Wild Thing end up blowing). He was fired as manager in 1996, replaced by Terry Francona, though he remained beloved by many in the organization, and recently reappeared at Citizens’ Bank Park for an honoring of the 20-year anniversary of the ’93 team.
This year, however, we celebrate a different 20-year anniversary as relates to Fregosi, an outspoken sort who matched the personality of his boisterous squad. On May 21st of 1994, Fregosi etched his name in Philly sports radio infamy when over heard making certain comments about WIP radio, which eventually made their way to well-known station personality Howard Eskin. The quote often varies in exact wording depending on the source, but reads something like:
“People who listen to WIP are a bunch of guys in South Philly that [fornicate with] their sisters and the people that work at WIP [fornicate with] their mothers.”
The comment, unsurprisingly, was deemed as offensive by many, and Fregosi had some answering to do for it. The manager did not deny that he made the comments, but sort of brushed them off as part of a “bull session” he was having pre-game, kidding around with a bunch of local reporters, and claimed that they had no bearing on his actual feelings about Phillies fans. “I sincerely appreciate our fans,” an impassioned and admittedly embarrassed Fregosi swore in a conference held on the matter.
Though it’s understandable why the comment drew the ire of many at the time, in today’s sports world of neutered press conferences and unremarkable quote-spewing, it can’t help but feel a little refreshing to think of a time when managers would offer vulgar, not-giving-a-rap off-the-cuff remarks like this. It’s probably the sort of thing that the great majority of notable Philly sportsmen have wanted to say about the shit-starting WIP at some point in their career, though it’s unlikely that many of them would have worded their thoughts quite so, uh, elegantly.
R.I.P. Jim Fregosi. Put on some Tag Team and break out your ’93 Phils VHSes today, friends.
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