Ray Fosse

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). 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. Fosse, who had huge hands that were compared to ham hocks, was a Gold Glove winner in 1970 and 1971. He went on to catch for the 1973-75 pennant-winning A’s, but the injuries took their toll and forced an early retirement. He later became an Oakland executive and broadcaster.