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Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Ray Fosse, longtime MLB catcher and announcer, dies at 74 after 16-year battle with cancer

Longtime big-league catcher and broadcaster Ray Fosse died on Wednesday after a 16-year battle with cancer, according to the Oakland Athletics. Fosse was 74 years old….

Fosse enjoyed a 12-year career in the majors as a catcher. He broke into the big leagues with Cleveland in 1967 and he later made the All-Star Game in 1970 and 1971. Fosse’s inclusion in the 1970 contest has become ingrained in the sport’s memory because of Pete Rose’s decision to barrel over Fosse. That collision left Fosse with a fractured and dislocated shoulder—injuries that plagued him the rest of his career, particularly on the offensive side of the ball.

Fosse would nevertheless go on to enjoy a full career because of his sterling defense. He would make stops with the Athletics, Seattle Mariners, and Milwaukee Brewers. He finished his career with a .256/.306/.367 line (90 OPS+) and 61 home runs.

RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 13, 2021 at 09:27 PM | 21 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: obituaries, ray fosse

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   1. The Duke Posted: October 13, 2021 at 10:18 PM (#6046200)
Baseball is funny in how it takes two mostly unrelated people and ties them together in history like that.
   2. snapper (history's 42nd greatest monster) Posted: October 13, 2021 at 10:58 PM (#6046201)
RIP
   3. John DiFool2 Posted: October 13, 2021 at 11:00 PM (#6046202)
I recall how Rose would invariably get booed at the All-Star game. Was it because of this play specifically, or just a general view that he was a dirty player?
   4. Pat Rapper's Delight (as quoted on MLB Network) Posted: October 13, 2021 at 11:40 PM (#6046204)
That must have been All-Star Game specific. If Rose was generally thought to be a dirty player in the 70's, he wouldn't have starred in so many* successful ad campaigns.


* Kinda creepy now watching Pete give his boy tips on how to score with underage girls.
   5. the Hugh Jorgan returns Posted: October 13, 2021 at 11:58 PM (#6046206)
Kinda creepy now watching Pete


Nah, I was a kid in the 70's and Rose was creepy then. With that stupid haircut and gorilla like swagger, he definitely had the look of someone who'd be hanging out in the public toilets.
   6. Traderdave Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:25 AM (#6046210)
Ray was a warm, friendly, kind, and thoughtful person who had a solid career inside the lines and even more outside them.

Baseball has lost something today, and so has all of humanity.

RIP Ray
   7. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 07:58 AM (#6046215)
OK, so some questions about those Aqua Velva commercials with Pete Rose:

1) In the first ad, do you think people recognized the second guy as the boss from the 70s/80s show Alice?
2) In the second ad, how many times are they going to do the whole chin thing?
3) In the third ad, the actress is obviously a beautiful woman who is totally smitten with Pete Rose as we lashes out one after another line drive singles to left-center field in the batting cage. I became a baseball fan in the early '80s, so I missed 1970s Pete Rose in real time. Was he considered a particularly good-looking guy, in the same general way that Jim Palmer was at the time?
4) In the Joe Morgan ad, it's kind of funny that Aqua Velva is like, hey, Pete Rose, let's throw in a former teammate of yours...and that 40 years later, the only Hall of Famer in that ad is Joe Morgan.

Setting aside what happened to Rose after his playing career, who would be the closest thing today in baseball (or professional sports) to what Pete Rose was in society or popular culture back in the late 1970s? I mean, I don't think there is any active baseball player today who is anywhere near as famous in the general public as Pete Rose was in the 1970s (or even players of the time like Johnny Bench, Steve Garvey, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, etc.) Is that accurate?
   8. Jose Is An Absurd Balladeer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 08:13 AM (#6046217)
Fosse seems to have been a really good guy. What little I know of him it seems like he was someone pretty well liked. RIP
   9. Starring Bradley Scotchman as RMc Posted: October 14, 2021 at 08:28 AM (#6046220)
In the first ad, do you think people recognized the second guy as the boss from the 70s/80s show Alice?

This ad is basically the greatest thing in human history.

I don't think there is any active baseball player today who is anywhere near as famous in the general public as Pete Rose was in the 1970s (or even players of the time like Johnny Bench, Steve Garvey, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, etc.) Is that accurate?

Yep. Baseball ceded its cultural footprint to the NFL and the NBA long ago. (You'd think Mike Trout would be a Magic Johnson-esque megastar: white, likeable, clearly the best player in his sport, plays in a huge media market that contains Hollywood, ferchrissakes. But, no.)
   10. sanny manguillen Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:09 AM (#6046229)
7.1. Vic Tayback had also been in the movie version, "Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore," but I think he was mostly a face people recognized as a comic tough guy (e.g., a gangster sent to lean on Danny Partridge). It looks like the commercial came out just before Alice premiered.

7.3. I don't recall anyone ever saying Rose was fair of face.
   11. sunday silence (again) Posted: October 14, 2021 at 09:53 AM (#6046245)
Dave Madden, Rueben on partridge family also appeared on alice, if I recall
   12. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: October 14, 2021 at 10:07 AM (#6046250)
I mean, I don't think there is any active baseball player today who is anywhere near as famous in the general public as Pete Rose was in the 1970s (or even players of the time like Johnny Bench, Steve Garvey, Reggie Jackson, Jim Palmer, etc.) Is that accurate?


It seems to me like popularity in athletes is probably down a bit for everyone (and down a great deal for baseball players)? Outside of Lebron, who is super duper famous in the NBA? Maybe I don't get exposed to it much because I'm in the midwest where there are few teams, but I think our society has just become really fragmented where everyone pays attention to their own niche and its hard to become just an ubiquitous super duper star.

Anyway, at my kid's school, outside of local teams, the sports jerseys I see the most are for Lionel Messi, FWIW.
   13. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:29 AM (#6046267)
4) In the Joe Morgan ad, it's kind of funny that Aqua Velva is like, hey, Pete Rose, let's throw in a former teammate of yours...and that 40 years later, the only Hall of Famer in that ad is Joe Morgan.


Best part of that ad is that it begins with Joe declaring "It's Pete Rose of the Philadelphia Phillies!" . . . as Pete slides into second base in what is presumably live game action. Could have been the start of a whole line of crossover ads where 70s icons steal second on Joe:

"It's Lou Ferrigno from the Incredible Hulk!"
"It's Erik Estrada from CHIPS!"
"It's Glenn Frey from the Eagles!"
   14. . Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:36 AM (#6046273)
Setting aside what happened to Rose after his playing career, who would be the closest thing today in baseball (or professional sports) to what Pete Rose was in society or popular culture back in the late 1970s?


The machine shop prole is so far out of cultural favor now that there can't be another relationship like Rose's with popular culture. Those ads and Pete himself are like museum pieces from a lost civilization.

RIP, Ray.
   15. Doug Jones threw harder than me Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:44 AM (#6046276)
You know, this thread was ideally supposed to be about Ray Fosse, who was a two-time All Star as well as a beloved 35-year broadcaster with the Oakland A's.

It was always a pleasure to listen to Ray Fosse, he was a real asset to baseball and the Oakland A's. A fine broadcaster and to all accounts a fine human. Nobody knew that for the past FOURTEEN YEARS he was struggling with cancer, until this past August. If I remember correctly he made it back to the booth for a visit at least during the last week of the season. No one had any idea that his condition was that serious, he sounded as cheerful and happy to be there as always. His demeanor, even in his last days, was far above the bar, and should be a lesson in grace to all of us.

Rest in Peace, Ray. Thank you for all the good times. Thank you for your grace and your service to all of us.
   16. Perry Posted: October 14, 2021 at 11:48 AM (#6046280)
I recall how Rose would invariably get booed at the All-Star game. Was it because of this play specifically, or just a general view that he was a dirty player?


He wasn't viewed as a dirty player, and at the time, the Fosse play wasn't viewed as a dirty play. That idea came later. He was lauded for it at the time.
   17. Harmon "Thread Killer" Microbrew Posted: October 14, 2021 at 12:25 PM (#6046282)
You know, this thread was ideally supposed to be about Ray Fosse, who was a two-time All Star as well as a beloved 35-year broadcaster with the Oakland A's.


No offense to you and any other members of Ray's family who are following this thread carefully, but this is a really silly thing to say. It's not like we crashed his funeral and started showing Pete Rose commercials on a big screen.
   18. zenstudent Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:09 PM (#6046298)
Nobody knew that for the past FOURTEEN YEARS he was struggling with cancer, until this past August. If I remember correctly he made it back to the booth for a visit at least during the last week of the season. No one had any idea that his condition was that serious, he sounded as cheerful and happy to be there as always. His demeanor, even in his last days, was far above the bar, and should be a lesson in grace to all of us.


100%.
It immediately reminded me of the Norm McDonald news and his long struggle with cancer, keeping it private.

   19. Steve Balboni's Personal Trainer Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:43 PM (#6046306)
In terms of Ray Fosse: As somebody born in 1974, he was just before my time, but that All-Star Game collision was probably one of the clips I saw the most often as a kid in the late 70s through the 80s when there was some kind of "great moments in baseball history" montages. It'd be like:

- Babe Ruth running around the bases at hyper speed in old-timey-time film
- Ted Williams hitting a game-winning HR in the All-Star Game
- Bobby Thomson's "The Giants Win the Pennant!" clip
- Willie Mays famous catch
- The last pitch of Don Larson's perfect game
- Maz's Game Seven HR in 1960
- Maris's 61st HR
- Ron Swoboda's catches in the '69 World Series
- The Rose/Fosse play
- Reggie's blast on the roof in the '71 All-Star Game

After that, it just depended on whether or not they had updated the clips since the early 70s (a lot didn't, as if time had frozen in 1972 or something).

Anyway, this meant that there were four or five guys when I was a kid who were just waaay more famous to me as a 10-year-old than they otherwise "should" have been. You'd have Reggie, Mantle and Maris, Mays, Williams, Ruth, Rose...and then Swoboda, Thomson, Larson, and Fosse, too. And Fosse was different from all the others, in that those other guys became iconic because of something they did "to" a game (throw a perfect game, hit a game-winning HR, make diving catches, etc.) Fosse is uniquely famous because of something that happened to him. In that sense, he was famous above his career achievements the way Sam Chapman, Ralph Branca, maybe Tony Conigliaro are.

Of course, Ray Fosse was far, far more than the memory of a moment, between his long playing and broadcasting career, and he is an important part of the greatest advantage baseball has on the other major sports in the U.S. - its rich history. Rest in Peace, Ray Fosse.
   20. asinwreck Posted: October 14, 2021 at 01:53 PM (#6046313)
It was always a pleasure to listen to Ray Fosse, he was a real asset to baseball and the Oakland A's. A fine broadcaster and to all accounts a fine human.

Agreed. The Bay Area teams have had some superb broadcasters over the past four decades, and Fosse was a great addition to the A's booth. His intelligence and demeanor reminded me of Ted Simmons.
   21. BDC Posted: October 14, 2021 at 02:07 PM (#6046317)
RIP. Fosse's career started just as I started paying obsessive attention to baseball, and even at age 11 I could tell that a catcher who'd hit 12 HR by the All-Star Break was pretty special. He was never as good afterwards, but here is where I was misinterpreting his career even in real time: Fosse was not ruined by the collision, but continued to be good for several years (even batting .307 after the ASG in 1970), and then the wear of catching caught up to him. Not uncommon and not particularly dramatic (Butch Wynegar, a few years later, had already had his best seasons by his mid-20s, too). Young catchers like that are very exciting players, and Fosse's career was full of hope and promise, and fulfilled more than most young prospects'.

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