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Former Mets manager Joe Frazier dies at 88

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Former New York Mets manager Joe Frazier, who led the team for just one full season before it went into a sharp decline, has died. He was 88.

Frazier's wife, Jean, said Thursday that her husband died Tuesday of a massive heart attack in Broken Arrow, Okla., where he was a longtime resident.

Joe Frazier, who was born in Liberty, N.C., played parts of four seasons in the major leagues as an outfielder for Cleveland, Cincinnati, St. Louis and Baltimore in the early 1950s.

He batted .241 with 10 homers in 217 games, then went on to a long career as a minor league coach and manager before getting his big break with the Mets.

In 1976, his only full season as a major league manager, Frazier guided the Mets to 86 victories and a third-place finish in the National League East behind star pitchers Tom Seaver, Jerry Koosman and Jon Matlack.

But the team faltered in 1977 and Frazier was fired after New York won only 15 of its first 45 games. He was replaced by Joe Torre and the Mets went on to finish last that season and the next two.

Frazier never managed in the big leagues again.

Joe Frazier's first wife of 50 years, Thelma, died in 1998.

Jean Frazier said she met Joe Frazier playing golf and they would have been married nine years next month.

Joe Frazier is also survived by three children _ Joe Frazier, Jr., Cindy Means and Marty Frazier _ from his first marriage.

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