Leaguer of the Month
Born: September 17, 1879 in Calvert, TX
Died: December 9, 1930 in Kankakee, IL
Ht:6'-3", Wt: 220
Batted right and threw right
Teams: Waco Yellow Jackets, Chicago Union Giants, Cuban X-Giants,
Philadelphia Giants, Chicago Leland Giants, Chicago American
of the greatest baseball minds in history, Rube Foster was
not only the star pitcher of his day, but was the father of
the Negro National League.
in Calvert, Texas in 1879, Andrew Foster grew big and strong
in the blazing sun of central Texas, and began pitching for
pay with the Waco Yellow Jackets before the turn of the century.
Foster was huge for his era, standing almost six foot-three
inches, and he filled out to over 200 pounds.
size provided him with a great fastball, but he was equally
feared for his outstanding screwball.
1902, Foster signed with the Chicago Union Giants, and won
more than 50 games during the season, including a victory over
future Hall of Famer Rube Waddell. The nickname "Rube" was
then bestowed upon Foster, and it was the name he went by for
the remainder of his life.
1902 through 1910, Foster may have been the top pitcher in
the world as he averaged almost 50 wins per season against
teams ranging from semipro to Major League.
1910 Philadelphia Giants on which Foster played, may have been
one of the greatest black teams in history, boasting early
stars such as John Henry Lloyd, Pete Hill, Homerun Johnson,
Bruce Petway, Frank Wickware and Danny McClellan. Foster went
13-2 on the mound, and the team won 128 of 134 games (.955
1911, Foster ventured back to Chicago and started the Chicago
American Giants with their home field at "Old
White Sox Park" at 39th & Wentworth--the field the White Sox
left to play at Comiskey Park.
continued to pitch, but he became more interested in managing,
and became one of the most successful and innovative
managers of his day. Foster's American Giants teams were some
of the most entertaining in history, with each game full of base-stealing,
hit-and-running, and bunting, bunting and more bunting! All of
the American Giants were expected to be precise bunters and
fast runners, and one player described watching an American
Giants game as
"like watching a track meet."
From 1911 through 1922, the American Giants won
every championship available except for 1916 when the Indianapolis
ABCs temporarily broke the Giants' string.
1920, Foster and several other Negro League team owners got
together at Kansas City's Paseo "Colored" YMCA, and organized
the original Negro National League. The league consisted of
the Chicago American Giants, St. Louis Giants, Kansas City
Monarchs, Chicago Giants, Indianapolis ABCs, Detroit Stars,
Cuban Stars and Dayton Marcos. The business side of baseball was very different in the Twenties than today, where the amount of money needed to make drastic changes in the sport is astronomical. The formation of the league would amount to the average small business loan in today's economy, but for the time the formation of the league was a large investment.
Foster's dream was that, if the Negro National League was successful,
eventually entire black teams would be allowed into
the Major Leagues. Foster, as president of the league (as well
to manage the American Giants) took 5% of the gate for league
games, and ruled the way he saw fit. If one team was weak he
might send money or players from another team to keep the competition
keen. Foster also laid down rules for managers and players,
insisting that all behave professionally on and off the field
for he knew that the slightest indiscretion would hurt the
league's reputation and its chance of integrating the Majors.
In 1923, the Eastern Colored League was formed featuring teams
from the East such as the Atlantic City Bacharachs, Brooklyn
Royal Giants, Philadelphia Hilldales, New York Lincolns and
Baltimore Black Sox. The two leagues competed for players and
often didn't get along.
1924, though, Foster proposed a Negro League World Series pitting
the champion of each league and the fans love it! In '24 the
Monarchs beat the Hilldales in the first Negro League World
Series, and in '25 the Hilldales beat the Monarchs.
season Foster began acting erratically and eventually suffered
a nervous breakdown, after which he entered a mental hospital
from which he would never leave.
third baseman Dave Malarcher took over managing duties from
Foster, and led the team to the Negro National League pennant
and World Series championship over Atlantic City. It seems
quite a shame that Foster wasn't on the bench to see the team
built win it all.
December 9th, 1930, Foster died at the age of 51. Foster was
inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, and
his half-brother, Willie Foster, was inducted 15 years later,
making them the only brothers in Negro League history to be
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