Some of the Top Cards of 1976

Monday, September 13, 2010

1976 Topps #554 - Ray Fosse

  • This is a great action card. Topps did some great cards of catchers in action.
  • Ray Fosse was the first round pick (7th overall) of the Cleveland Indians in the first draft in 1965. Fosse played in the minors from 1965-1968. He had brief trials with the Indians in 1967 (1 for 16 in seven games) and in 1968 (played in one game and caught two innings).
  • Ray was brought up to the Indians as Duke Sims' backup in 1969. Fosse batted .172 in 37 games. He missed three months of the season when a foul tip fractured his right index finger in June.
  • The 1970 season was Fosse's biggest year. Ray batted .307 with 18 HR and 61 RBI and won the Gold Glove Award. He made the AL All Star team as a reserve. Ray entered the game in the 6th inning and went 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly. Fosse was involved in the famous (or infamous depending on how you look at it) play that ended the game in the 12th inning. Pete Rose was attempting to score the winning run and bowled over Fosse at the plate. Rose missed the next three games due to injuries suffered in the collision. Fosse was examined by the Cleveland doctors and they found nothing wrong with him. Ray continued playing until a foul tip broke his right index finger in September. Ray was hurting but was waiting for manager Alvin Dark to ask him if he was hurt. Dark was waiting for Fosse to tell him he was hurt. It was later discovered that Ray had had a fracture and separation of his left shoulder. The inflammation masked the injury on the original X-rays. Fosse batted .297 after the 1970 All Star Game but hit only two home runs during that time. Ray Fosse - Best of the New Breed? - October 1970 Baseball Digest.
  • Ray was playing winter ball in Venezuela after the 1970 season when he and some teammates were swimming at a beach. One of the players (Herman Hill) was swept out to the sea by a current. Another player (John Morris) swam out to rescue Hill but he also got into trouble. Ray swam out and rescued Morris, but Hill drowned.
  • Fosse had another good year in 1971 and was voted by the fans to start at catcher for the AL in the All Star Game. A torn ligament in his left hand kept Ray from playing in the game. Fosse batted .276 with 12 HR and 62 RBI in 133 games and won his second (and last) Gold Glove.
  • Ray's offensive production was down in 1972 (.241, 10 HR, 41 RBI) but he still had a great defensive year. Gaylord Perry, who went 24-16 for the year and won the AL Cy Young Award, gave Fosse a lot of the credit for his leadership.
  • On March 24, 1973 Fosse was traded (with Jack Heidemann) to the Oakland A's for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick. Perry was shocked and surprised by the move since he had such a good rapport with Ray. Fosse didn't like the move at first but came around when he realized he was going to a winning ballclub.
  • The 1973 season was Ray's last one as a regular player. Fosse played in 143 games and batted .256 with 7 HR and 52 RBI. Ray also led all AL catchers by throwing out 56% of would-be base stealers. He also threw out 4 of 5 attempted base stealers in the ALCS. Ray went 1 for 11 (.091) in the ALCS and was 3 for 19 (.158) in the World Series.
  • Fosse was the starting catcher in 1974 but missed two months after having surgery for a pinched nerve. He sustained the injury while breaking up a clubhouse fight between Bill North and Reggie Jackson. Ray returned to the field in late August and ended up batting .196 in 69 games. Fosse went 4 for 12 (.333) in the ALCS and 2 for 14 (.143) in the World Series.
  • Gene Tenace replaced Fosse as the starting catcher for the A's in 1975. Ray batted .140 in 136 AB during the regular season and went 0 for 2 in the ALCS. After the 1975 season Fosse was sold back to the Cleveland Indians.
  • Ray was spiked by Jim Rice on April 13 and had to go on the disabled list. After he returned from the DL Fosse alternated with Alan Ashby behind the plate. Ray batted .301 in 90 games for the Indians in 1976. 
  • When the 1977 season started Ray was the starting catcher for the Indians. After manager Frank Robinson was replaced by Jeff Torborg in June, Ray was alternated with Fred Kendall at catcher. Fosse batted .265 in 78 games for the Indians and on September 7 he was traded to the Seattle Mariners for Bill Laxton and cash. Ray batted .353 in 11 games for the Mariners to finish the 1977 season. After the 1977 season Fosse became a free agent. He signed a four-year contract with the Milwaukee Brewers.
  • During spring training in 1978 Ray tripped in a hole while running down the first base line. He had multiple injuries (including a torn ligament that required reconstructive surgery) and missed the entire 1978 season.
  • Fosse was beat out by Buck Martinez and Charlie Moore in 1979 and ended up being the bullpen catcher for most of the year. Ray batted .231 in 19 games for the Brewers in 1979. Ray didn't make the Brewers club in 1980 and was cut at the end of spring training. 
  • Ray worked for TRS Video Sports Productions for a few years after his retirement as a player and made baseball instructional videos. Fosse became a broadcaster for the A's in 1986 and has been doing the job ever since. He and his wife now live in Phoenix, AZ.
  • Ray's SABR biography
  • Liked to face: Jerry Augustine (.600 in 10 AB); Tom Murphy (.421 in 19 AB); Bill Lee (.419 in 31 AB)
  • Hated to face: Ken Sanders (.000 in 13 AB); Ray Culp (.063 in 16 AB); Bill Singer (.095 in 21 AB)


1 comment:

  1. I didn't know Fosse was with Herman Hill when he died. Sad story.