Jim Frey, Architect of Cubs’ First Two Division Titles, Passes Away at 88

Jim Frey, who orchestrated the Cubs’ first two division titles, passed away Sunday at the age of 88. He earned Manager of the Year honors after leading the Cubs to an NL East title in 1984 and was the GM when they repeated the feat in 1989, an almost unprecedented run of success at the time.

Frey was also directly involved in the creation of the Atlantic League’s Somerset Patriots and held the position of Vice Chairman in the early days of the franchise. The team announced his passing with a statement on its website.

“Jim will be greatly missed and we send our love to the entire Frey family,” said Somerset Patriots Chairman Emeritus Steve Kalafer. “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 managed in Kansas City prior to his Cubs tenure, taking the Royals to the 1980 World Series, and ended his managerial career with a 323-287 record. Being almost 40 games over .500 is one thing, doing it with the Royals and Cubs is incredibly impressive.

“Jim was a great baseball mind and the person who gave me my first chance in the game,” Patriots Manager Emeritus Sparky Lyle said. “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 is survived by his beloved wife of 68 years Joan, his son James, three daughters; Cindy, Mary, and Jennifer, as well as six grandchildren and five great grandchildren.

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