Hit remains fresh
Fosse still feels effects from All-Star Game collision with Rose
Ray Fosse recalls being run over by Pete Rose during 1970 All-Star Game. “Long after I’m gone, I’m sure they’ll still be showing the play. It’s part of the great game and I would never, ever say there’s any animosity or hard feelings about anything, about playing a game that I loved and still love.”
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.
Fosse recalls 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,
“That’s something people will continue to talk about, whether they were alive at the time or watched the video and see the result.” Ray Fosse
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.
Fosse had a single, scored a run and drove in one. All most fans recall was the 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.
Rose bristled Thursday at a suggestion the play ruined Fosse’s career.
“No. 1, I didn’t break the rules,” Rose said. “Two, I did not try to purposely hurt him. Three, I did not ruin his career. Four, I took him out to eat the night before the game.”
Fosse had a 23-game hitting streak in the first half, at age 23. He hit 16 home runs before the break and just two the rest of the season.
Has he wondered how his career might have turned out if Rose had taken a different path?
“We probably wouldn’t be talking now,” Fosse said, chuckling. “From a pure baseball standpoint, I really haven’t thought about it that much. All I know is that having hit 16 home runs at the All-Star break, could I have hit 30? Could I have hit 30 annually?”
Oakland Athletics broadcaster and former Cleveland catcher Ray Fosse is interviewed before a baseball game between the Athletics and the Detroit Tigers in Oakland, Calif., on May 26, 2015. Fosse never did fully recover physically from one of most infamous plays in All-Star Game history, when he was bulled over by Pete Rose in the 12th inning of the 1970 Summer Classic.
Ray Fosse spent parts of 12 seasons in the majors.