Ray Fosse, the powerful-arm wide receiver whose career was turned upside down when he was knocked down by Pete Rose at the 1970 All-Star Game, died Wednesday. He was 74 years old.
Carol Fosse, his wife of 51 years, said in an online statement that he passed away after 16 years of battling cancer. She didn’t say where he died.
Fosse was a budding talent for Cleveland when he made his first all-star team at 23 in 1970. He had 16 home runs and 45 points in battle during the all-star break. He would hit 0.307 that year with a career-high 18 home runs; he also rejected 55% of basic theft attempts and won the first of two golden gloves.
In the 12th inning of the All-Star Game – played at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati, Rose’s field – Rose charged Fosse to score the winning point, fracturing and separating Fosse’s left shoulder.
The x-rays immediately after the incident were negative and Fosse didn’t miss any game time. He caught nine innings in a game at Kansas City two days after the all-star game, even though he couldn’t lift his left arm. over his head. It was later determined that his shoulder had not healed properly.
Rose was widely criticized for what many considered an unnecessarily brutal play in an exhibition match. He later defended himself by saying, “There’s no sense in slipping in a bag if you can’t get the bag.”
Fosse made the All-Star squad again in 1971. But he was never an All-Star again, and he never had a season as good as 1970 on a 12-year career with Cleveland. , Oakland, Seattle and Milwaukee.
Traded to Oakland in 1973, he helped Athletics win two World Series championships. He ended his career with a .256 batting average and 61 homers in 924 games.
Raymond Earl Fosse was born April 4, 1947 in Marion, Illinois. He was a first-round pick for Cleveland in 1965 and made his major league debut two years later.
In addition to his wife, his survivors include two daughters, Nikki and Lindsey.
Fosse became a broadcaster for athletics in 1986 and continued to work until the 2021 season.
In 2015, 40 years after the incident, Fosse told The Associated Press he suffered from arthritis, had five knee operations and had two bad shoulders that he had never fixed as well as stiffness. of the neck.
Of course, he knew it wasn’t all about Rose’s blow to the All-Star Game. This was largely the result of the rigors of being a catcher.
“There was no one at the time to say, ‘Don’t play’,” he said. “I continued. This is something that I take with great pride.
His collision with Rose, he once said, was “something people will continue to talk about whether they are alive then or have watched the video and seen the result.”
“There have been harder hits,” he added, but “just the fact that it was an All-Star Game, they always vote on the strengths or weaknesses of the All -Star Game, and that always seems to be the foreground that people are talking about. By the way. “
The New York Times contributed reporting.