RON ALLEN AND JIM FREGOSI
The late Ron Allen on Opening Night in 1989 at Lackawanna County Stadium. (Photo: Andy Palumbo.net)
The late Jim Fregosi. (Photo: Philadelphia Phillies).
THE TOP OF THEIR GAME
There are certain times in one’s career where you seem to reach the zenith. When I heard about the death of Jim Fregosi last night I also thought about WARM’s Ron Allen. You might ask why. The Phillies in the early 90s were woeful franchise. They were a bunch of misfits that couldn’t get out of their own. At the same time WARM Radio was heavily into an Informational/Entertainment format. One of the most popular programs on the Mighty 590 was the Ron Allen Sportsline. Allen was at the top of his game. After years of hybrid formats where Ron’s show was on Sunday nights, Allen was given the afternoon drive time show piece of local broadcasting.
Allen would broadcast his program starting at 5pm everyday sometimes with live broadcasts from Lackawanna County Stadium. His show was right before the Phillies games. As one might know, there is huge contingent of Phillies fans in WARMland. During the 1993 season, Allen had access to major talent on the Phils. It would not be unusual to hear guys like John Kruk or Mitch Williams being interviewed by Allen or his sports sidekick Kelly Reed. Allen at least once a month scored an interview with then Phils manager Jim Fregosi. The skipper was blunt and to the point but the loquacious Ron Allen always seemed to stretch the time he was given by the Phillies PR Department with Fregosi.
Allen was a broadcast lifer like Fregosi was a baseball lifer. And Allen talked baseball with the Manager. During that magic season of 1993 Ron Allen and WARM’s coverage of the Phillies was the place to be for fans of the Fightin’s. During the 1993 Series Allen had unprecedented access to the team by phone, in person or through Kelly Reed, a WARM News and Sports staffer. It was heady stuff.
The Phils lost that series in a memorable home run that Joe Carter hit off Mitch Williams. The next year they did not reach the pennant and a few years later Fregosi was fired. Ron Allen in just a short time would be let go by the group owing WARM but it is said he was given a lifetime contract before he left. Fregosi moved on and The Sportsline on WARM was gone. But for that one great year, 1993, the Phillies and Ron Allen were at the zenith of what baseball and sports talk radio was supposed to be. And that’s why to me the late great Ron Allen, WARM Radio and Jim Fregosi will always be part of something special.