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  • Writer's pictureJoe Pace

New England Sports 366, #104: Jeff Frye

One of the great things about sports in general and baseball in particular is how bit players can be memorable. Backup catchers pinch-hitting game-winning home runs, relief pitchers getting a huge out in the seventh inning, a pinch runner stealing a big base in the playoffs. Light-hitting utility players and diminutive middle infielders have long been favorites of mine. Maybe because I was no stranger to the pine or the banjo myself back in my playing days, or because I was no stretch job myself. Your Brock Holts, your Craig Grebecks, these are my tribe even more so than the catchers I tried to emulate.

When I was religiously watching Sox games in the late 90s, we had one of those dudes in Jeff Frye. He had a pretty good glove at second base, and after hitting .286 with Texas for parts of three seasons, he came to the Sox as a free agent. He was a good player for Boston, teaming up with Nomah around the second sack and slapping enough singles and doubles that he piled up a .295 average in parts of four seasons with Boston (36 doubles alone in his career year of 1997). He became a reserve in 1999 when Jose Offerman came to town, and in 2000 was traded to Colorado.

At 5'9" and a buck eighty, Frye was rarely a power threat, though I do remember a three-run jack he hit against the Indians in July 1997. He also is one of two Toronto Blue Jays to hit for the cycle, doing so in 2001, just a month before his retirement. He's a sports agent now, representing other plucky middle infielders like Ian Kinsler.

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