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Ray Fosse – 1973 Topps #226

 

Raymond Earl Fosse (born April 4, 1947 in Marion, Illinois) 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. 1965 was the first year of the Major League Baseball Draft. He batted and threw right-handed. 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 what caused the downfall of Fosse’s career. In reality, Fosse played 42 games in the second half of 1970, hitting .297 and winning the American League Gold Glove Award. Rose asserted he was simply trying to win the game.
Fosse’s career was one marked by numerous injuries. In 1971, Fosse suffered more injuries, getting kicked in his right hand during a brawl against the Detroit Tigers on June 20, causing a gash that required five stitches and sidelined him for more than a week. 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 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 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 base runners 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 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.

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