To fans, the brightest stars play on the field, hitting home runs and throwing strikes in front of thousands of adoring spectators. But to the players, the biggest stars are the figures in the background, who keep the operations running smoothly to little outside applause.
To the countless players and couches who passed through the Oakland A’s organization, Ray Fosse and Steve Vucinich were superstars.
After winning a couple of World Series with the 1970’s A’s, Ray Fosse’s powerful voice narrated the Oakland A’s saga from 1985-2021, through its highs as a late-80’s dynasty and through its intermittent lows. The late radio broadcaster, who died last October after a long, private battle with cancer, will have his place in over a century’s worth of A’s history etched forever when he’s officially inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame on Sunday.
Fosse touched many lives during his decades in the East Bay, and several players in the clubhouse spoke about how Fosse would help new A’s players acquaint themselves with the organization. When asked about his favorite Fosse story, former A’s player and current team manager Mark Kotsay recalled Fosse’s strength late in life.
“I remember watching Ray and not knowing he was sick for as long as he was sick, and thinking of the character and strength it took for him to do what he loved every day,” Kotsay said. “The strength he showed was unbelievable.”
Fosse, alongside former players Sal Bando, Joe Rudi and Eric Chavez, will join Vucinich and special adviser to player development Keith Lieppman in the exclusive six-man class. The ceremony will take place before the A’s match up with their cross-town and interleague rivals, the San Francisco Giants.
“We miss Mr. Fosse, but Steve will poke his head in here from time to time, which has been good,” outfielder Stephen Piscotty said.
For many of the A’s current players, recalling fond memories of longtime clubhouse manager Vucinich was easy. He was an institution in the clubhouse, having worked for the team in some capacity from the year the A’s came to Oakland in 1968 until the end of last season. He was even present throughout in Mesa during March and April, helping during the hectic lockout-shortened spring training.
“You could see the culture he’d been around with the A’s, and I’m sure he’d seen some wild things back in the day,” pitcher A.J Puk said. “I mean, 55 years — I can’t imagine all the different guys he’s been around and all the stories Steve has.”
“Back in 2018, Steve helped me get all set up and settled here when I came in from St. Louis,” Piscotty said. “It was good that he was here to help me transition with the team.”
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Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment