Tuesday, December 18, 2012

no. 125 - ray fosse

Who is the man: Good gosh, I don't know. I am used to the Snidely Whiplash version of Ray Fosse. This cat, I don't know.

Can ya dig it: Because of the black chest protector dominating the photo, Topps had to squeeze Fosse's signature in the lower right corner.

Right on: Lots going on in this photo. Fosse's putting on his shin guards Michael Jackson-style (one glove on). He's staring into the distance at someone he doesn't appear to like. And is that Connie Mack in the dugout off to the left? Looks like someone in a suit.

You see this cat Fosse is a bad mother: Fosse went on a 23-game hitting streak in 1970 to take control of the Indians' starting catching position from Duke Sims. Sims would be traded by Cleveland the very next offseason.

Shut your mouth: Fosse still harbors bitterness about the play at the plate in which Pete Rose bowled him over during the 1970 All-Star Game. He said for a column that Rose tries to downplay the incident as something that happened between friends. Fosse says he and Rose were never friends. They went out to dinner with Sam McDowell and their wives before the All-Star Game, mostly because they were all there in Cincinnati as all-stars and didn't have anything to do, not because they were good buds.

No one understands him but his woman: Fosse separated his shoulder in the collision with Rose -- a play widely blamed for derailing Fosse's career (although Fosse was sidelined by a variety of injuries). But the fracture was not discovered until the following year. Fosse tried to play with the injury for the rest of the 1970 season (another injury ended his season on Sept. 3 of that year).

(A word about the back): "Developed into perhaps the AL's finest backstop in 1970 ..."

Here are the starting AL catchers in 1970: Elrod Hendricks, Jerry Moses, Joe Azcue, Ed Herrmann, Bill Freehan, Ed Kirkpatrick, Phil Roof, George Mitterwald, Thurman Munson, Frank Fernandez, Paul Casanova.

Well, if it wasn't for Munson, I'd say Topps had a case. Even if you discount Fosse's offense, he was one terrific defensive catcher.


  1. I actually agree with Topp's assessment of Fosse over Munson based on the their 1970 stats. Fosse had a slightly better average and more power/slugging, especially before his collision with Rose. He hit only 2 hrs for season afterwards. Makes me wonder what might have been had the Rose incident not happened.

    This is one of my favorite cards of the 71 set. The adjusting shin guards pose fits well with Fosse's "bearing my teeth" expression. In subsequent cards, I thought of him as one of the least photogenic baseball players. Sorry, Ray it had to be said.