‘As if it happened yesterday’
Four-plus decades later, Ray Fosse still feels effects from All-Star Game collision with Pete Rose
Ray Fosse’s body still aches, 45 years later.
He never did fully recover physically from one of the most infamous plays in All-Star Game history, when Pete Rose bulled him over in 1970 to score the winning run in the 12th inning at Riverfront Stadium.
With the game back in Cincinnati on Tuesday, Fosse is reminded again of that moment. Over and over. Not that he needs another look.
“As if it happened yesterday,” said Fosse, a Cleveland catcher at the time and now an Oakland broadcaster. “As much as it’s shown, I don’t have to see it on TV as a replay to know what happened. It’s fresh.” That night changed his career. “It seems to be a play that people kind of relate to, that will somehow be kind of an opener, an icebreaker,” he said. “It’s like, ’Oh, you’re the guy.”’
To this day, he introduces himself to A’s players as “just Ray Fosse, one of the broadcasters.”
Later, they tend to figure it out.
Fosse has pain and arthritis, endured five knee surgeries has two bum shoulders he never had fixed and a stiff neck.
In fairness, he knows a lot of that is a result of the rigours of being a catcher.
“My body hurts. My shoulder still hurts,” he said. “There was not anybody at the time to say, ’Don’t play.’ I continued. That’s something that I take with a lot of pride.”
Fosse recalls it being 160 de- grees on the artificial turf that night in Ohio, when the AL blew a 4-1, ninth-inning lead and lost 5-4 on Rose’s run.
Rose says Fosse left him no room to slide into home on the decisive play.
“He’s the one blocking the plate without the ball,” Rose said on Thursday. “I’m the one who missed three games with an injury to my knee. He played nine more years after that.”
Two days after the All-Star Game, Fosse caught nine innings in a win at Kansas City.
He couldn’t lift his arm above his head.
“They didn’t have the technology, I didn’t see any of it, as far as X-rays, no MRI, not really anything,” Fosse recalled in May at the Oakland Coliseum.
“Since my salary was about $12,000 at the time, nobody was going to tell me I couldn’t play. Even though I was hurt and probably shouldn’t have played, there was no injury that actually showed. It just was internal. As it turned out it was a fractured, separated shoulder. Things were different then.”
Fosse “never had the ball, never touched the ball” when Rose came plowing into him at the plate.
Now 68, Fosse offered his support after Giants catcher Buster Posey got run over by the Marlins’ Scott Cousins in May 2011, which in part led Major League Baseball to implement a new rule last season banning such home-plate hits.
All most fans recall was that bruising end.
“That’s something people will continue to talk about, whether they were alive at the time or watched the video and see the result,” Fosse said.
“There have been some harder hits. Just the fact it was an All-Star Game, they always vote on the All-Star game highlights or lowlights and that always seems to be at the top that people talk about.”
In this July 14, 1970, file photo, National League’s Pete Rose, left, is hugged by his teammate Dick Dietz while American League catcher Ray Fosse lies injured on the ground, after Rose crashed into him to score the game-winning run for the National League team, in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati.