Willie Foster


"Willie Foster was the greatest left-hander that I ever played with. He could have made history if he could have played in the Big Leagues."

--Double Duty Radcliffe

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©Copyright 2000-2001, Kyle McNary, McNary Publishing

Negro Leaguer of the Month
November, 2000

Willie Foster
, Pitcher
Career: 1923-1938
Batted: Both; Threw: Left
HT: 6'-1"; WT: 195 lbs.
Born: June 12, 1904
Died: September 16, 1978

Willie was the half-brother of Negro League founder Rube Foster, and considered the best lefthanded pitcher in Negro League history.

Foster was a stylish lefty in the mold of Warren Spahn, with a hopping fastball, a "12 to 6 o'clock curve," a straight change, and great control.

Foster first gained fame with the Chicago American Giants. In 1926 Foster's American Giants faced the Kansas City Monarchs in a series for the Negro National League title. The American Giants were down 2 games to 1 and needed to win both games of a play-off doubleheader for the pennant. Foster pitched and won both games, beating Bullet Joe Rogan twice. He followed this feat by pitching in 4 games to lead the American Giants over the Atlantic City Bacharach Giants in the Negro League World Series.

Foster had many season with 20 victories and a few with 30.

In 1933 Foster was voted in as starting pitcher in the first East-West all-star game. He pitched a complete game victory over a star-studded East lineup that including Hall of Famers Cool Papa Bell, Oscar Charleston, Josh Gibson and Judy Johnson.

Foster joined these stars when he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996.