Jim Fregosi Jr.'s childhood was far from ordinary. While most kids grow up playing catch with their dads in the backyard or at the local little league field, he was tossing the ball around with his dad at Major League baseball stadiums. So it's no surprise that he is now working where he feels the most comfortable, where he feels he belongs -- as a big league scout for the Philadelphia Phillies.
He is the son of the great Jim Fregosi, a six-time All-Star shortstop and former manager of the Phillies (1991-96). If there was anyone ever born with baseball flowing through their veins, it was Jim. His father, however, never pushed him to follow in his footsteps.
"I didn't feel any added pressure," Fregosi Jr. said. "It's something that I enjoyed doing my entire life. My first goal was always to play professional baseball, and I ended up playing in the Minors for six years. But I never felt like I had to."
After ending his playing career in 1989, Jim coached for one year at El Modena High School in California and served as Bend's hitting coach in 1990 (an MLB co-op team). He joined the Phillies as a Western Crosschecker in 1992 and has spent all but two of the past 17 seasons scouting for the Fightins'. And thanks to his upbringing, Jim is more than prepared for his task at hand.
"Growing up in a ballpark as a kid, being around Major League players and baseball people my whole life, I was able to see the way players carry themselves on the field," Fregosi Jr. explained. "Their attitudes, their skills ... just watching so many games, knowing their mechanics and being able to evaluate if they have the ability to make it in the big leagues. It's like a library, like a reference book."
As a Major League scout, Jim's primary duty for the Phillies is to evaluate all National League teams prior to the July 31 Trade Deadline. If any teams are willing to deal, he is given an assignment by Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. to "sit on" specific players, to watch certain trade targets and draft scouting reports on them for the front office in Philadelphia.
"Ruben did a real good job with that this year (2009)," said Fregosi Jr. "He made sure we were in all of the ballparks of the sellers, not buyers, and there was at least one scout in each location. We had to have all of our bases covered, because you never know if a trade is going to work out."
Beginning in September, Jim will start advance scouting for the Phillies as he did in 2008, evaluating potential playoff teams in the event the Phillies meet them head-to-head in October.
"That's when the excitement begins," exclaimed Fregosi Jr.
As far as his future is concerned, Jim can't imagine working for anyone but the Fightin' Phils.
"My loyalty is to the Phillies," he said. "This is a wonderful organization; they've done nothing but great things for me and my family. I've been here a long time and I don't see myself going anywhere. That's the farthest thing from my mind. My goals are all related to the Phillies and our success."
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.