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Baseball rule protecting catchers means 1 won't get bowled over in Cincinnati All-Star game

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CINCINNATI — One of the most famous All-Star endings won't be repeated when the game returns to Cincinnati this summer.

Cincinnati's Pete Rose bowled over Cleveland's Ray Fosse to end the 1970 All-Star Game at Riverfront Stadium. Fosse suffered a significant shoulder injury that curtailed his career.

Major League Baseball has tried to eliminate those home plate collisions the last two years. All-Star catcher Joe Torre, who is MLB's chief baseball officer, watched the collision from the National League bench and thought thought the hit was clean, though devastating to Fosse's career.

"Being a catcher myself, I sort of knew the drill," Torre said on Thursday during a conference call. "That's pretty much what you do. You try to defend your territory. Whether you had the ball or not, you try to keep the run from scoring. As it turned out, it was devastating.

"Obviously going forward, we're trying to eliminate any repeat of that kind of stuff."

The 1970 game was one of nine in Torre's playing career. As a catcher, he could empathize with Fosse as he tried to keep the winning run from scoring in the 12th inning.

"It was: Ouch, I've been there," he said. "The fact that we won the game was cool, but everybody — you went up and wanted to check on Ray and see if he was OK, and you could see he was pretty well dazed.

"It was a clean hit. Pete didn't go in spikes-first. He basically bowled him over."

PHOTO: FILE - In this July 14, 1970, file photo, Cincinnati Reds' Pete Rose slams into Cleveland Indians' catcher Ray Fosse to score in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Ohio. Looking on are the Reds' third base coach Leo Durocher, rear, and Cincinnati Reds' on-deck batter Dick Dietz (2). Major League Baseball has tried to eliminate those home plate collisions the last few years. MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre saw the collision from the National League bench and says the hit was clean but devastating to Fosse’s career. (AP Photo/File)
FILE - In this July 14, 1970, file photo, Cincinnati Reds' Pete Rose slams into Cleveland Indians' catcher Ray Fosse to score in the 12th inning of the 1970 All-Star Game in Cincinnati, Ohio. Looking on are the Reds' third base coach Leo Durocher, rear, and Cincinnati Reds' on-deck batter Dick Dietz (2). Major League Baseball has tried to eliminate those home plate collisions the last few years. MLB Chief Baseball Officer Joe Torre saw the collision from the National League bench and says the hit was clean but devastating to Fosse’s career. (AP Photo/File)

Torre thinks Major League Baseball has made a lot of progress in protecting catchers the last few years. Rule 7.13 was adopted last season giving runners a path to the plate. A catcher who blocks the plate can be called for obstruction.

The rule has been tweaked to cover force plays and other circumstances.

"We haven't carried anybody off the field yet, which means it's working," Torre said. "If we see a catcher lining up or blocking without the ball, we like to just remind them. And again, they may not know they're doing it because it's so much of a habit to defend your territory.

"But I think it's worked well. I still keep my fingers crossed because you don't want anybody's career ending."

Giants catcher Buster Posey broke his lower left leg when he was run over by Florida's Scott cousins in 2011 during the 12th inning of a game, which sparked talk about preventing home plate collisions. Torre talked to Giants manager Bruce Bochy after the collision to come up with ideas for a new rule.

Posey, in Cincinnati for the start of a four-game series against the Reds, said on Thursday that players have adjusted to it.

"Honestly, I think the rule works fine," Posey said. "It's as simple as that."

Torre says even though the rule works, there are discussions about how it's implemented at times.

"Even though the rule may not be bulletproof, it certainly has gotten attention, and I think players are very much aware that we don't want those collisions," Torre said.


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