Pete Rose: still cagey and defiant about the Ray Fosse collision after 45 years

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It happened 45 years ago but Pete Rose and Ray Fosse still get asked about their famous collision at home plate in the 1970 All-Star Game. The one that shook Rose up a bit — he’d miss some games afterward — and which ended up having a major impact on Ray Fosse’s health and career.

Yes, Fosse played right after the All-Star Game. But he wasn’t the same and, eventually, it was determined that he had a fractured and separated shoulder. By the time they figured that out, however, it had already healed improperly. As he told Scott Miller of CBS Sports two years ago, he still feels stabbing pain there and can’t really lift his arm over his head.

The stories of the Rose-Fosse collision are well known by now. Rose says he was pals with Fosse and it was just about playing hard. Fosse says he is not bitter about the play itself, but has noted with some agitation over the years that Rose has gone out of his way to play up the friendship between he and Fosse, whereas Fosse told Miller back in 2013 they really didn’t really know each other. They just had dinner the night before and Fosse was back at the hotel with his wife at 1AM. Rose tells people they were out until 4AM, palling around. That’s really the only part that bigs Fosse.

I’ve always thought that to be somewhat telling. There’s this whole sense to it where Rose is trying to create his own history about the entire thing. It was a play that, for the time, wasn’t terribly remarkable, even if it skewed a tad hard-nosed for the All-Star Game. People have criticized Rose for it, but they haven’t damned him. And as I said, Fosse isn’t bitter about it. But Rose has to go that extra mile to convince people that it wasn’t just defensible or merely notable. He was righteous and just and, man, when you think about it HE was the wronged party!

Just look at this from today’s conference call with Rose and reporters, related to the upcoming All-Star Game:

It’s so Pete Rose. After 45 years, you’d think the response would be more about Fosse’s health or at the very least some sort of perspective about how the things you thought and did when you were young were somewhat regrettable, even if done righteously at the time. Just a little, I dunno, humanity about the dang thing. Or humility.

But that’s not Pete Rose. And that’s why he has become the figure he has become in the past 25 years.