- C, 1B, DH, 2B
- Marion Mule
- April 4, 1947
- 6' 2"
- 215 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-08-1967 with CLE
- Allstar Selections:
- 1970 GG, 1971 GG
Ray Fosse played 12 seasons in the majors, winning two Gold Gloves at catcher, appearing in the 1973 and 1974 World Series, and being named to the All-Star team in 1970-71. After being the first round pick in 1965( He had been Cleveland's number-one pick in the first-ever June free agent draft (1965), chosen before Johnny Bench), of the Cleveland Indians, Fosse had two stints in the majors with the Cleveland Indians, spending parts of eight seasons with them. However, his two World Series appearances were both with the Oakland Athletics. He was also part of the inaugural season of the Seattle Mariners in 1977, having been traded there in September.
He made his Major League debut late in the 1967 season, but returned to the minor leagues in 1968. Fosse joined the Cleveland Indians in 1970, platooning alongside catcher Duke Sims He hit in 23 consecutive games beginning June 9, the longest American League hitting streak since 1961. The manager for the American League in the 1970 All-Star Game, Earl Weaver, rewarded Fosse with a reserve role on the team.
Fosse was involved in one of the most celebrated plays in All-Star Game history. In 1970, his first season as a Cleveland regular, he established himself as one of baseball's best catchers, earning a spot on the All-Star team. With the scored tied 4-4 in the 12th inning, Fosse blocked home plate with Pete Rose charging in. Rose barreled Fosse over to score the winning run. Never one to be stopped by injuries, Mule continued to play that year (though X-rays later revealed he had a fractured shoulder) until a broken index finger finally ended his season. Fosse never again displayed the power and consistency he had shown in '70 (.307, 18 HR).
Fosse, who had huge hands that were compared to ham hocks, was a Gold Glove winner in 1970 and 1971.
Indians future Hall of fame pitcher, Gaylord Perry won the American League Cy Young Award in 1972, he gave Fosse credit for his success saying,"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."
In 1973, Fosse was traded along with Jack Heidemann to the Oakland Athletics for Dave Duncan and George Hendrick. He went on to catch for the 1973-75 World Champion A's,
The Athletics traded Fosse back to the Cleveland Indians in 1976. He once again became a starting catcher with the Indians, however, he went back on the disabled list after a collision at home plate with Jim Rice. When he returned to duty, he was platooned alongside catcher Alan Ashby. Fosse ended the year with a .301 batting average. On May 30, 1977, Fosse caught Dennis Eckersley's no-hitter versus the California Angels. Eckersley acknowledged Fosse's contribution to the no hitter, saying afterwards,"Give Fosse a lot of credit too. He called a helluva game. I think I only shook him off three times." When Jeff Torborg replaced Frank Robinson as manager of the Indians in June 1977, he placed Fosse in a platoon role alongside catcher Fred Kendall, and in September of that year, Fosse was traded to the Seattle Mariners.
Fosse finished out the year with the expansion Mariners and then signed a contract to play for the Milwaukee Brewers. In spring training, Fosse tripped in a hole while running down the first base line, and suffered injuries to his right leg. The most serious injury required the reconstruction of the ligament on the outside of the knee, causing him to miss the entire season. He came back in 1979, but only played in 19 games, and in 1980, Fosse was released at the end of spring training.
The injuries took their toll and forced an early retirement. He later became an Oakland executive and broadcaster since 1986.
He had been Cleveland's number-one pick in the first-ever June free agent draft (1965), chosen before Johnny Bench. Fosse was disabled five times in his career: while still in the minors in 1967; for most of 1969; for most of 1974 (hit by a pitch, pulled a side muscle, and then suffered a pinched nerve in his neck trying to break up a clubhouse fight); twice in 1976; and for all of 1978. And although it didn't put him on the DL, there was an odd incident in 1970: A cherry bomb thrown from the stands blew up by his foot, badly burning the arch of his foot and causing a shock. Always tough and determined, he stayed in the game, limping, was hit by a pitch, but played the next day.
- Ray Fosse