Royals and Cubs Mourn the Passing of Manager Jim Frey
Jim Frey, the manager who lead the Kansas City Royals to their first World Series in 1980 and helped lead the Chicago Cubs to two post season appearances in 1984 and 1989 has died at the age of 88 according to the Cubs and Royals.
According to an official release from the Kansas City Royals, "Frey managed the Royals to their first American League championship and World Series appearance in 1980. He posted a 127-105 record in his two years (1980-81) at the helm."
The Royals lost the 1980 World Series to the Philadelphia Phillies in six games according to baseball reference. I only mention this because Frey would be named manager of the Chicago Cubs in 1984 by former Philadelphia Manager Dallas Green, who by 1984 was the Cubs General Manager.
According to a release from the Cubs, Frey managed the Cubs to their first winning record since 1972, won the 1984 N.L. East title, and helped the Cubs appear in the playoffs for the first time 1984. He managed the team until 1986, and served as a radio broadcaster for the team in 1987 until being named General Manager in November of that year. As General Manager Frey helped the Cubs win the N.L. East again in 1989.
As both a Royals and a Cubs fan I can tell you while the 1980 World Series might have been Jim Frey's crowning achievement. I suspect the Cubs making the playoffs in 1984 and 1989 were bigger deals to Cubs fans than the Royals losing the series in 1980. Of course, in 1980 I was eight and living in Chicago and was probably more interested in the fountains and AstroTurf at Royals Stadium than how the people felt about the Royals going to the World Series so I could be wrong.
1984 for Cubs fans, however, was huge. I remember my Aunt Peggy taking me to the last regular game of the season. Fans stayed and cheered for about a half hour after the game. The team took a victory / thank you lap around the ball park. No one wanted to go home. The people in the bleachers went nuts. It was a huge deal. I mean there had been nothing in recent years to really cheer about for Cubs fans before 1984. Then to take the team to the playoffs again in 1989, OK, that wasn't as big a deal as '84, but it was still something that didn't happen every year for Chicago sports teams. (Although the Bulls were getting close to their NBA dominance in 1989.)
As a Cubs fan in the 1980's Jim's teams taught me about victory, hope, disappointment and patience. And the 1980 Kansas City Royals, they were the first team I really cared about, had a rooting interest for in the World Series. That was cool. Thanks Jim for the baseball, the smiles, and the tears.
According to mlb.com reporter Jeffrey Flannigan, "Frey is survived by his wife Joan, their three daughters, six grandchildren and three great-grandchildren."