Ray Fosse and Why Lack of Oakland Athletics at All-Star Game Could be a Good Thing
To this point, the first-place Oakland Athletics have been awarded just one All Star: Bartolo Colon. The 40-year-old right-hander is scheduled to throw on Sunday, however, so there’s pretty much zero chance of Colon taking part in Tuesday night’s exhibition.
It’s been rumored that record-setting closer Grant Balfour could replace Colon, but as it currently stands, there might not be a single Athletics’ cap on the field in Flushing, N.Y. for this year’s MLB All-Star game.
However, when I take a look at Ray Fosse, the team’s gregarious broadcaster, I can’t help but wonder if that might just be a good thing.
It was the summer of 1970, and the 23-year-old Fosse had 16 home runs at the break. According to former Cincinnati Red Pete Rose, Fosse and Cleveland Indians teammate Sam McDowell were over at his house in Cincinnati until 4 or 5 a.m. the night before the All-Star game. As Rose likes to claim, they were all buddies.
However, Fosse pointed out to CBS Sports’ Scott Miller that the night out had actually ended closer to 1 a.m., and it had been dinner with the wives. So, it’s not like Rose, Fosse and McDowell had been out on some bender.
In the 12th inning with the game tied at Riverfront Stadium, Rose came tearing around third base and crashed into Fosse’s shoulder with such force that he literally knocked the mitt straight off the catcher’s hand.
When you watch the replay, you can see that Rose stutter steps as he changes his mind from sliding to charging through Fosse in front of his hometown fans.
An x-ray taken immediately after the game was negative, and MRI’s didn’t exist back then, so Fosse just played through the pain. The catcher played in the Indians first game after the break, which came just two days after the collision. Rose meanwhile missed three games as he recovered from a bruised thigh.
After the All-Star break, a clearly hobbled Fosse managed just two home runs, and only made it into 42 games.
In all the time since that collision, Rose has reached out to Fosse twice.
Once during batting practice before a game between the Indians and Reds in 1971, Rose reportedly shouted to Fosse that he was off to a slow start.
That slow start, of course, was due to the fact that Fosse had a fracture and a separated shoulder, injuries that would be revealed when he received a second x-ray in 1971. The shoulder healed, but not properly. 43 years later, Fosse still can’t lift his left arm over his head.
The pair spoke once more in the mid-80′s in San Francisco, but otherwise, that’s it.
Fosse still managed to collect a pair of World Series rings in 1973 and 1974 in Oakland, which just so happens to be his wife’s hometown. He’s also been the Athletics’ broadcaster for 28 seasons. So, unfortunate trip to Cincinnati aside, it’s worked out pretty nicely for Fosse.
I don’t think that Josh Donaldson is going to get barreled over at Citi Field, or that Balfour is going to blow out his arm. But then again, 162 games is a lot of games. So, perhaps it won’t be the end of the world if all of the Athletics get a few extra days off.