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Card: 1971 Topps #125
"I've got to split it up and give part, a big part, to my catcher, 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." - Gaylord Perry, thanking Ray for pushing him to the 1972 American League Cy Young Award with the Indians
Born in Marion, IL, Raymond Earl Fosse was a catcher from 1967 to 1979, most notably as an All-Star player for the Cleveland Indians, and then as a two-time World Series champion with the Oakland Athletics dynasty of the early 1970s. He also played for the Seattle Mariners and the Milwaukee Brewers. After his playing career, Fosse became a television and radio color commentator for the Oakland Athletics.
Fosse was selected by the Indians to become the team's first draft pick when MLB implemented its first amateur draft in 1965. His toughness was evident throughout his career.
As an example, On June 24, 1970, the Cleveland Indians were visiting New York to play a doubleheader against the Yankees. Tribe catcher Fosse went 2-for-4 with one RBI, one run scored and one walk as Cleveland won the first game 7-2 behind Sam McDowell’s tenth win.
He was scheduled to sit out game two, but he was feeling strong, playing well, and was in the midst of a 23-game hitting streak. So Ray caught the second game as well. In the Yankees’ fifth, with a runner at second base, New York pitcher Stan Bahnsen tried to bunt the baserunner to third, but missed the ball. Fosse threw the baseball back to Indian pitcher Mike Paul.
As Ray stood behind home plate, waiting for Paul to go to the pitcher’s mound, a cherry bomb was thrown from the upper deck of Yankee Stadium. It exploded four feet from the ground and landed at the instep of Fosse’s right foot. “I saw that thing land at my feet, but I didn’t have time to do anything,” he said.
He covered his head to protect his eyes as a reflex, but felt the pain, like a torch burning in his foot. The cherry bomb burned through his spikes and both pairs of socks. Indians trainer Wally Bock feared hat Fosse had been shot. But the catcher insisted that he return to the game. He was treated for ten minutes and continued to play. Nicknamed the "Marion Mule", Ray was big and strong, could carry a team on his back, and was as stubborn as a mule.
Fosse was a two-time All-Star and won two Gold Glove Awards in a playing career that was marred by numerous injuries. In 2001, Fosse was voted one of the 100 greatest players in Cleveland Indians' history. As part of two World Series with the Oakland Athletics (1973 & 1974), and he was named to the Oakland Athletics' 50th-anniversary team in 2018, and was inducted into the St. Louis Hall of Fame on February 11, 2019.
Many people saw a decreased production from Ray after being barreled into by Pete Rose at the 1970 All-Star game, which left Fosse with a separated shoulder. Rose was roundly criticized by some for this level of physicality in an exhibition game.
Ray Fosse is part of the Topps Card Tour – 1971 Topps – Go to the Next Stop
Ray is also part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Ray is also part of the Cleveland Indians Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop
Ray is also part of the Athletics Player Tour – Go To the Next Stop
“The Marion Mule” is part of the Great Italian American Player Nicknames Tour – Go to the Next Stop
See all Ray’s baseball cards at TCDB
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