April 4, 1947 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|September 8, 1967 for the Cleveland Indians|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 30, 1979 for the Milwaukee Brewers|
|Runs batted in||324|
|Career highlights and awards|
Raymond Earl Fosse (born April 4, 1947 in Marion, Illinois) is a former professional baseball player who was a catcher in the Major Leagues. He was drafted in the first round of the 1965 amateur draft by the Cleveland Indians. Fosse also holds the distinction of being the Indians' first ever draft pick, as 1965 was the first year of the Major League Baseball Draft. He batted and threw right-handed.
Major League career 
Fosse's career was one marked by numerous injuries. He made his Major League debut late in the 1967 season, but returned to the minor leagues in 1968. Fosse joined the Cleveland Indians in 1970, platooning alongside catcher Duke Sims. In the first half of 1970, Ray posted a .313 batting average with 16 home runs and 45 runs batted in. He hit in 23 consecutive games beginning June 9, the longest American League hitting streak since 1961. The manager for the American League in the 1970 All-Star Game, Earl Weaver, rewarded Fosse with a reserve role on the team.
Arguably, Ray Fosse is most famous for being bowled over by the Cincinnati Reds' Pete Rose at home plate in the last play of the 1970 All-Star Game. Rose scored the winning run, while the collision separated Fosse's right shoulder. The injury is often cited as what caused the downfall of Fosse's career, but that year Fosse went on to play 42 games in the second half of the season, hitting .297 and winning the American League Gold Glove Award. Rose asserted he was simply trying to win the game; however, he was widely criticized by some for over-aggressiveness in what essentially was an exhibition game. In a twist of fate, when Rose was sentenced to five months in prison for tax evasion, he was sent to the US penitentiary in Marion, Illinois, Fosse's hometown.
In 1971, Fosse had a .276 batting average along with 12 home runs and 62 runs batted in. He suffered more injuries, however, getting kicked in his right hand during a brawl against the Detroit Tigers on June 20 and sustaining a gash that required five stitches and sidelined him for more than a week. When he returned, Fosse tore a ligament in his left hand during an at bat against Denny McLain, forcing him to miss the 1971 All-Star Game. He did manage to win his second consecutive Gold Glove Award in 1971. When Cleveland pitcher Gaylord Perry won the American League Cy Young Award in 1972, he gave Fosse credit for his success saying,"I've got to split it up and give part--a big part-to my catcher, Ray Fosse. He kept pushing me in games when I didn't have good stuff. He'd come out and show me that big fist of his when I wasn't bearing down the way he thought I should."
In 1973, Fosse was traded along with Jack Heidemann to the Oakland Athletics for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick. He played in 143 games that year, the most of his career, on a team that had three 20-game winning pitchers (Ken Holtzman, Vida Blue and Jim "Catfish" Hunter). The Athletics won the American League Western Division pennant by six games over the Kansas City Royals, then defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the 1973 American League Championship Series. Fosse made his mark in the series, throwing out five would-be base stealers. The Athletics went on to win the 1973 World Series against the New York Mets.
The Athletics repeated as world champions in 1974, defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, but injuries would once again plague Fosse. On June 5 he suffered a crushed disk in his neck attempting to break up a clubhouse fight between teammates Reggie Jackson and Billy North. He was on the disabled list for three months. The Athletics won a fifth consecutive division title in 1975, but by then, Gene Tenace had replaced Fosse as the Athletics' starting catcher. Fosse did participate in a combined no-hitter in the final game of the season, catching for Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers in the final 3 innings.
The Athletics traded Fosse back to the Cleveland Indians in 1976. He once again became a starting catcher with the Indians, however, he went back on the disabled list after a collision at home plate with Jim Rice. When he returned to duty, he was platooned alongside catcher Alan Ashby. Fosse ended the year with a .301 batting average. On May 30, 1977, Fosse caught Dennis Eckersley's no-hitter versus the California Angels. Eckersley acknowledged Fosse's contribution to the no hitter, saying afterwards,"Give Fosse a lot of credit too. He called a helluva game. I think I only shook him off three times." When Jeff Torborg replaced Frank Robinson as manager of the Indians in June 1977, he placed Fosse in a platoon role alongside catcher Fred Kendall, and in September of that year, Fosse was traded to the Seattle Mariners.
Fosse finished out the year with the expansion Mariners and then signed a contract to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In spring training, Fosse tripped in a hole while running down the first base line, and suffered injuries to his right leg. The most serious injury required the reconstruction of the ligament on the outside of the knee, causing him to miss the entire season. He came back in 1979, but only played in 19 games, and in 1980, Fosse was released at the end of spring training.
Career statistics 
In a 12 year career, Fosse played in 924 games, accumulating 758 hits in 2957 at bats for a .256 career batting average along with 61 home runs and 324 runs batted in. He ended his career with a .986 fielding percentage. Fosse led American League catchers in 1970 with 854 putouts, 48 baserunners caught stealing and in range factor (7.81). In 1971 he led the league with 73 assists, and in 1973, he led American League catchers in baserunners caught stealing and in caught stealing percentage.
Fosse was a member of two World Series Champion clubs: the 1973 and 1974 A's, and also a member of the inaugural Seattle Mariners team that began playing in 1977. He won Gold Glove Awards in 1970 and 1971. Fosse was named to the 100 Greatest Cleveland Indians in 2001.
Fosse is a color commentator for the Oakland Athletics on CSN California and occasionally on the A's radio broadcasts when the game is not on TV or is on national television. He has served as the color analyst for the Oakland Athletics' radio and television broadcasts since 1986. In 2002 he was nominated for a Ford C. Frick Award.
- Ray Fosse at Baseball Reference
- 1965 First Round Draft at mlb.com
- Wancho, Joseph. "The Baseball Biography Project: Ray Fosse". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved 13 July 2010.
- 1970 All-Star Game at Baseball Almanac
- Kroichick, Ron, Bowled Over, 10 July 1999, San Francisco Chronicle; accessed 28 September 2009
- American League Gold Glove Award Winners at Baseball Reference
- Ray Fosse Trades and Transactions at Baseball Almanac
- 1973 Oakland Athletics season
- 1973 American League standings at Baseball Reference
- 1973 American League Championship Series at Baseball Reference
- 1973 World Series at Baseball Reference
- 1974 World Series at Baseball Reference
- May 30, 1977 Angels-Indians Box Score at Baseball Reference
- May 30, 1977 Angels-Indians Box Score at Baseball Almanac
- Ray Fosse at Baseball almanac
- 100 Greatest Indians at http://cleveland.indians.mlb.com
- Urban, Mychael, Where have you gone, Ray Fosse?, 22 May 2002, @ mlb.com; accessed 28 September 2009
- 1971 Baseball Register published by The Sporting News
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Ray Fosse biography at The Society for American Baseball Research