Ray Foss, a longtime television personality from Oakland A, passed away on Wednesday after battling cancer for 16 years. He was 74 years old.
“With a heavy heart, Carol Fosse, 51-year-old wife of Ray Fosse, shares the sad news that Ray Fosse lost his battle with cancer on October 13, 2021 after fighting it silently for the past 16 years,” a statement from the family of the former catcher on his website. “Carol and daughters, Nikki and Lindsay, pass their love on to family, friends and fans who mourn his loss with them.”
Foss spent three of his 12 seasons in the Major Leagues in Oakland, winning two World Series titles with Oakland in 1973 and 1974. During this time, the tough catcher left its mark on the Team A franchise, which lasted more than five decades.
“He was traded for A in 1973, but it’s a long time to be so associated with the franchise,” said radio A’s announcer Ken Korach. “He took this responsibility very seriously.
“He cared deeply about the franchise. He loved this organization and cared very much. I think the fans know that. For all obvious reasons, he was a favorite figure. ”
Korach and Fosse have worked together in Booth A for 26 years, and Korach has seen Fosse’s strong work ethic shape the mic job as a color commentator transcending the baseball eras.
Foss spent time with A’s Seattle, Milwaukee and Cleveland and caught two non-hitters, Dennis Eckersley in Cleveland in 1977 and the first combined non-hitter with more than two pitchers in MLB history in 1975, when Vida Blue, Glenn Abbott Paul Lindblad and Rollie Fingers teamed up to avoid hitting the Angels. It has been named the All-Star twice, which is known to have been part of a home court collision in which Pete Rose of the Reds pounced on him in a 1970 game.
Foss joined Broadcast Team A under the voice of Hall of Fame Bill King and, like him, became a fountainhead of baseball knowledge. While some former players may take the streaming opportunity for granted, Foss has become a walking encyclopedia of baseball. He carried a portfolio of notes that he took during his 35 seasons of broadcasts, recording every moment with impressive memories of any pitch or game.
Like King, who died suddenly in 2005, Foss kept his health battles a secret. Most of his colleagues were unaware of his fight against cancer until this year.
“Ray is a private person,” Korach said. “I respect the fact that he wanted it to be that way, and I totally respect that.”
Fans hung banners over the fence of the Colosseum stands, cheering for Foss’s recovery and expressing their support. Upon learning of his death, fans on all social media expressed their regret and gratitude to Foss. According to Korach, TV presenters can become close friends of the fans they talk to.
“He has been in people’s homes for 36 years,” he said. “He was part of the family and I don’t think that’s an exaggeration because people treated him that way.”
A close friend of A’s entire fanbase, Fosse was especially close to those in A.’s organization.Color radio commentator Vince Cotroneo tweeted:
“Ray welcomed me as a welcome guest on the first day, and I am eternally grateful to him for that. Nothing but wonderful memories. Lots of stories, laughs and baseball. This is a huge hole in the A family and in the booth. Prayers to Carol, Lindsay, Nikki and grandchildren. I love you, Ray. ”
Fosse’s television partner, Glen Kuiper, spoke earlier this year about overseeing Fosse’s deteriorating health.
“He just doesn’t talk about it. I’ve been sitting next to him for 18 years, so I know that. I wanted to ask him many times, “Are you okay?” But I know what he is. He’s going to say, “I’m fine,” Kuiper said in August.
Kuiper also watched his older brother and San Francisco Giants TV host Dwayne Kuiper undergo chemotherapy this year. He always thought of Fosse as a brother.
“Ray has outdone generations,” said Korach. “I don’t think anyone I know loved baseball more than Ray.”