Foster, considered by historians to have been perhaps the best African-American pitcher of the first decade of the 1900s, also founded and managed the Chicago American Giants, one of the most successful black baseball teams of the pre-integration era. Most notably, he organized the Negro National League, the first long-lasting professional league for African-American ballplayers, which operated from 1920 to 1931. He is known as the "father of Black Baseball."
Foster adopted his longtime nickname, "Rube", as his official middle name later in life.
|Born: September 17, 1879|
|Died: December 9, 1930 (aged 51)|
|Negro leagues debut|
|1902, Chicago Union Giants|
|1917, Chicago American Giants|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Election Method||Veterans Committee|
Foster was born in Calvert, Texas on September 17, 1879. His father, also named Andrew, was a reverend and elder of the local American Methodist Episcopal Church. Foster started his professional career with the Waco Yellow Jackets, an independent black team, in 1897. Over the next few years he gradually built up a reputation among white and black fans alike, until he was signed by Frank Leland's Chicago Union Giants, a team in the top ranks of black baseball, in 1902. After a slump, he was released, and signed with a white semipro team based in Otsego, Michigan – Bardeen's Otsego Independents. According to Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles: Great Teams, The 1905 Philadelphia Giants, Volume III "In completing the summer of 1902 with Otsego's multi-ethnic team––the only multi-race team with which he would ever regularly perform––Foster is reported to have pitched twelve games. He finished with a documented record of eight wins and four loses along with eighty-two documented strikeouts. Ironically, strikeout totals for five games which he appeared were not recorded. If found the totals would likely show that Foster struck out more than one-hundred batters for Otsego. In the seven games where details exist, Foster average eleven strikeouts per outing." Toward the end of the season he joined the Cuban X-Giants of Philadelphia, perhaps the best team in black baseball. The 1903 season saw Foster establish himself as the X-Giants' pitching star. In a post-season series for the eastern black championship, the X-Giants defeated Sol White's Philadelphia Giants five games to two, with Foster himself winning four games.
According to various accounts, including his own, Foster acquired the nickname "Rube" after defeating star Philadelphia Athletics left-hander Rube Waddell in a postseason exhibition game played sometime between 1902 and 1905. A newspaper story in the Trenton (NJ) Times from July 26, 1904, contains the earliest known example of Foster being referred to as "Rube", indicating that the supposed meeting with Waddell must have taken place earlier than that. Recent research has uncovered a game played on August 2, 1903, in which Foster met and defeated Waddell while the latter was playing under an assumed name for a semi-pro team in New York City.
Now a star, Foster jumped to the Philadelphia Giants for the 1904 season. Legend has it that John McGraw, manager of the New York Giants, hired Foster to teach the young Christy Mathewson the "fadeaway", or screwball, though historians have cast this story in doubt. During the 1904 season, Foster won 20 games against all competition (including two no-hitters) and lost six. In a rematch with Foster's old team, the Cuban X-Giants, he won two games and batted .400 in leading the Philadelphia Giants to the black championship.
In 1905, Foster (by his own account several years later) compiled a fantastic record of 51–4, though recent research has confirmed only a 25–3 record. He led the Giants to another championship series victory, this time over the Brooklyn Royal Giants. The Philadelphia Telegraph wrote that "Foster has never been equalled in a pitcher's box." The following season, the Philadelphia Giants helped form the International League of Independent Professional Ball Players, composed of both all-black and all-white teams in the Philadelphia and Wilmington, Delaware, areas.
In 1907, Foster's manager Sol White published his Official Baseball Guide: History of Colored Baseball, with Foster contributing an article on "How to Pitch." However, before the season began, he and several other stars (including, most importantly, the outfielder Pete Hill) left the Philadelphia Giants for the Chicago Leland Giants, with Foster named playing manager. Under his leadership, the Lelands won 110 games (including 48 straight) and lost only ten, and took the Chicago City League pennant. The following season the Lelands tied a national championship series with the Philadelphia Giants, each team winning three games.
Foster suffered a broken leg in July 1909, but rushed himself back into the lineup in time for an October exhibition series against the Chicago Cubs. Foster, pitching the second game, squandered a 5–2 lead in the ninth inning, then lost the game on a controversial play when a Cubs runner stole home while Foster was arguing with the umpire. The Lelands lost the series, three games to nothing. The Lelands also lost the unofficial western black championship to the St. Paul Colored Gophers.
In 1910, Foster wrested legal control of the team from its founder, Frank Leland. He proceeded to put together the team he later considered his finest. He signed John Henry Lloyd away from the Philadelphia Giants; along with Hill, second baseman Grant Johnson, catcher Bruce Petway, and pitchers Frank Wickware and Pat Dougherty, Lloyd sparked the Lelands to a 123–6 record (with Foster himself contributing a 13–2 record on the mound).
The following season, Foster established a partnership with John Schorling, the son-in-law of Chicago White Sox owner Charlie Comiskey. The White Sox had just moved into Comiskey Park, and Schorling arranged for Foster's team to use the vacated South Side Park, at 39th and Wentworth. Settling into their new home (now called Schorling's Park), the Lelands became the Chicago American Giants. For the next four seasons, the American Giants claimed the western black baseball championship, though they lost a 1913 series to the Lincoln Giants for the national championship.
By 1915, Foster's first serious rival in the midwest had emerged: C. I. Taylor's Indianapolis ABCs, who claimed the western championship after defeating the American Giants four games to none in July. One of the victories was a forfeit called after a brawl between the two teams broke out. After the series, Foster and Taylor engaged in a public dispute about that game and the championship. In 1916, both teams again claimed the western title. The continued wrangling led to calls for a black baseball league to be formed, but Foster, Taylor, and the other major clubs in the midwest were unable to come to any agreement.
By this time, Foster was pitching very little, compiling only a 2–2 record in 1915. His last recorded outing on the mound was in 1917; from this time he became purely a bench manager. As a manager and team owner, Foster was a disciplinarian. He asserted control over every aspect of the game, and set a high standard for personal conduct, appearance, and professionalism among his players. Given Schorling Park's huge dimensions, Foster developed a style of play that emphasized speed, bunting, place hitting, power pitching, and defense. He was also considered a great teacher, and many of his players themselves eventually became managers, including Pete Hill, Bruce Petway, Bingo DeMoss, Dave Malarcher, Sam Crawford, Poindexter Williams, and many others.
In 1919, Foster helped Tenny Blount finance a new club in Detroit, the Stars. He also transferred several of his veteran players there, including Hill, who was to manage the new team, and Petway. He may have been preparing the way for the formation, the following year, of the Negro National League (NNL).
In 1920, Foster, Taylor, and the owners of six other midwestern clubs met in the spring to form a professional baseball circuit for African-American teams. Foster, as president, controlled league operations, while remaining owner and manager of the American Giants. He was periodically accused of favoring his own team, especially in matters of scheduling (the Giants in the early years tended to have a disproportionate number of home games) and personnel: Foster seemed able to acquire whatever talent he needed from other clubs, such as Jimmie Lyons, the Detroit Stars' best player in 1920, who was transferred to the American Giants for 1921, or Foster's own younger brother, Bill, who joined the American Giants unwillingly when Rube forced the Memphis Red Sox to give him up in 1926. His critics believed he had organized the league primarily for purposes of booking games for the American Giants. With a stable schedule and reasonably solvent opponents, Foster was able to improve receipts at the gate. It is also true that when opposing clubs lost money, he was known to help them meet payroll, sometimes out of his own pocket.
His American Giants won the new league's first three pennants, before being overtaken by the Kansas City Monarchs in 1923. In the same year the Hilldale Club and Bacharach Giants, the most important eastern clubs, pulled out of an agreement with the NNL and founded their own league, the Eastern Colored League (ECL). The ECL raided the older circuit for players, Foster's own ace pitcher Dave Brown among them. Eventually the two leagues reached an agreement to respect one another's contracts, and to play a world series.
After two years of finishing behind the Monarchs, Foster "cleaned house" in spring, 1925, releasing several veterans (including Lyons and pitchers Dick Whitworth and Tom Williams). On May 26, Foster was nearly asphyxiated by a gas leak in Indianapolis. Though he recovered and returned to his team, his behavior grew erratic from then on. Foster had instituted a split-season format, and his American Giants finished third in both halves.
1926 saw him complete his team's reshaping, leaving only a handful of veterans from the championship squads of 1920–22. The club finished third in the season's first half; but Foster would never finish the second. Over the years "Foster grew increasingly paranoid. Took to carrying a revolver with him everywhere he went." Suffering from serious delusions he was institutionalized midway through the 1926 season at an asylum in Kankakee, Illinois.
The American Giants and the NNL lived on—in fact, led by Dave Malarcher, the Giants won the pennant and World Series in both 1926 and 1927—but the league clearly suffered in the absence of Foster's leadership. Foster died in 1930, never having recovered his sanity, and a year later the league he had founded fell apart.
Foster is interred in Lincoln Cemetery in Blue Island, Illinois.
In 1981, Foster was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame. He was the first representative of the Negro leagues elected as a pioneer or executive.
On December 30, 2009, the U.S. Postal Service announced that it planned to issue a pair of postage stamps in June honoring Negro leagues Baseball. On July 17, 2010, the Postal Service issued a se-tenant pair of 44-cent, first-class, U.S. commemorative postage stamps, to honor the all-black professional baseball leagues that operated from 1920 to about 1960. One of the stamps depicts Foster, along with his name and the words "NEGRO LEAGUES BASEBALL". The stamps were formally issued at the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, during the celebration of the museum's twentieth anniversary.
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum hosts the annual Andrew "Rube" Foster Lecture, in September.
In the 1915 World Series, the Boston Red Sox beat the Philadelphia Phillies four games to one.
In their only World Series before 1950, the Phillies won Game 1 before being swept the rest of the way. It was 65 years before the Phillies won their next Series game. The Red Sox pitching was so strong in the 1915 series that the young Babe Ruth was not used on the mound and only made a single pinch-hitting appearance.1917 Boston Red Sox season
The 1917 Boston Red Sox season was the seventeenth season in the franchise's Major League Baseball history. The Red Sox finished second in the American League (AL) with a record of 90 wins and 62 losses.1981 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting
Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 1981 followed the system in place since 1978.
The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) voted by mail to select from recent major league players and elected Bob Gibson.
The Veterans Committee met in closed sessions to consider older major league players as well as managers, umpires, executives, and figures from the Negro Leagues.
It selected Rube Foster and Johnny Mize. Foster would be one of two people from the Negro Leagues elected in seventeen years before introduction of a separate ballot in 1995.Albert Toney
Albert Toney (March 3, 1879 – October 26, 1931) was an African-American baseball short stop in the pre-Negro leagues. He played most seasons for Chicago teams such as Chicago Union Giants, Leland Giants, and Chicago Giants.
Toney played with many popular players of the day, including Rube Foster, Dangerfield Talbert, Henry W. Moore, Chappie Johnson, William Binga, Walter Ball.Bill Foster (baseball)
William Hendrick Foster (June 12, 1904 – September 16, 1978) was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball's Negro leagues in the 1920s and 1930s, and had a career record of 143-69. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. Foster was the much-younger half-brother of Rube Foster, a Negro league player, pioneer, and fellow Hall of Famer.Cannon Ball Miller
Joseph "Cannon Ball" Miller (birthdate unknown) was an African-American baseball pitcher in the pre-Negro leagues. His first known games were played for the Page Fence Giants.Miller played a few seasons for Chicago teams Columbia Giants and Chicago Union Giants.He played with many popular players of the day, including Sol White, William Binga, Rube Foster, Harry Hyde, Walter Ball, and Charles "Joe" Green.Chicago American Giants
The Chicago American Giants were a Chicago-based Negro league baseball team, owned and managed from 1911 to 1926 by player-manager Andrew "Rube" Foster. From 1910 until the mid-1930s, the American Giants were the most dominant team in black baseball. Charter members of Foster's Negro National League, the American Giants won five pennants in that league, along with another pennant in the 1932 Negro Southern League and a second-half championship in Gus Greenlee's Negro National League in 1934. The team ended in 1956.Chicago Giants
The Chicago Giants were a professional baseball team based in Chicago, Illinois which played in the Negro leagues.Club Fé
Club Fé were a Cuban baseball team in the Cuban League. They played from 1904 to 1912. Alberto Azoy managed the team from 1905 to 1910.Cuban X-Giants
The Cuban X-Giants were a professional Negro league baseball team that played from 1896 to 1906. Originally most of the players were former Cuban Giants, or ex-Giants. Like the Cuban Giants, the original players were not Cuban (though the team would later sign Cuban players). Edward B. Lamar Jr. served as business manager for the team.
In 1897 the X-Giants beat the Cuban Giants in a series 2 games to 1. With Frank Grant joining in 1898 the club continued to establish themselves as the new powerhouse in the east. Grant and White left in 1900 and Bill Monroe joined at second base; both the Giants and X-Giants claimed to be the champions, a situation that was duplicated a year later. In 1903 the club boasted Rube Foster on the mound and a middle infield of Charlie Grant and Home Run Johnson. They played in the integrated Tri-State Independent League and then took 5 of 7 games from the Philadelphia Giants for the title as top black team in the east. Foster won 4 games in the series and also was 6 for 17 at the plate.
For the 1904 season the Philadelphia Giants signed away Grant and Foster, and later beat the X-Giants in a championship series 2 games to 1, as Foster won two games against his old teammates. (Grant and Foster replaced Frank Grant and Harry Buckner as regulars.) In 1905 the X-Giants took one of two games from the National League's Brooklyn, outscoring them 7–2 in the first game and losing 2–1 in the second. In 1906, the X-Giants signed John Henry Lloyd for his first season in professional baseball, and the team joined the International League of Independent Professional Base Ball Clubs.
In late 1906, the Cuban X-Giants became a founding member of the National Association of Colored Baseball Clubs of the United States and Cuba. The team folded before play started in 1907.Dangerfield Talbert
Dangerfield F. "Danger" Talbert (March 8, 1878 – June 20, 1914) was an African-American baseball third baseman in the pre-Negro leagues.
Talbert was born in Platte City, Missouri and moved to Omaha, Nebraska, attending the public schools there. He began his career as a baseball player at Omaha High School, working as a catcher at 16 years old.
Talbert came to Chicago in 1900 signing with W. S. Peters' Chicago Unions, playing third base where he stayed for most of his career. He played mostly for Chicago teams, with the exception of a couple years with the Algona Brownies of Iowa.He played a winter season with the Cuban X-Giants and returned again for regular season play with the Leland Giants.
Talbert played with the Leland Giants until a court battle split the team in 1910. Wright went with Frank Leland to the Chicago Giants and played there in 1910 and 1911.
He played with and against many well-known names of the day, including Rube Foster, Sol White, Henry W. Moore, William Binga, Walter Ball, and Charles "Joe" Green.In 1913, Talbert was diagnosed with consumption, today known as tuberculosis and in May 1913, his friend and former teammate Rube Foster held a benefit baseball game for Talbert raising a reported $265. Omaha baseball supporters also held a benefit four months later at an Omaha ballpark.After more than a year with the disease, Danger Talbert died at the home of his sister in Omaha, Nebraska at the age of 36. He was buried at Laurel Hill cemetery.Frank Leland
Frank C. Leland (1869 – November 14, 1914) was an African-American baseball player, field manager and club owner in the Negro Leagues.
Leland was born in Memphis, Tennessee. He attended Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee from 1879 to 1886.He began his professional career with the Washington Capital Cities in the 1887 National League of Colored Baseball Clubs, a team which played no league games before the experiment collapsed. He "moved to Chicago and was instrumental in organizing and developing five successful baseball teams in that city" (Riley, 475).
In 1888, he organized the black amateur Union Base Ball Club, with sponsorship from some of Chicago's black businessmen, Henry Elby, Albert Donegan, and W.S. Peters. Leland obtained a lease from the city government to play at South Side Park, a 5,000-seat facility. In 1898 his team went pro and became the Chicago Unions.
He played outfield with the Unions in the 1880s. Leland also worked as the umpire for the club in the first few years. He also worked as the traveling manager of the Chicago Unions.
In 1901 he merged the Unions and the Columbia Giants to form the Chicago Union Giants. This became the top Negro League team in the Midwest.Legacy Awards (NLBM)
The Legacy Awards are presented annually by the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum (NLBM) to the best players, managers, and executives in each league of Major League Baseball, for on- and off-the-field achievement. The awards—for performance and achievement—are named for legendary players of Negro Leagues Baseball. The awards were first presented for the 2000 Major League Baseball season.The first Legacy Awards—in 2000—were presented in November at the "Legacy 2000 Players’ Reunion and Awards Banquet", which was organized to honor the tenth anniversary of the opening of the museum and the eightieth anniversary of the establishment of the Negro National League. For the next nine years (2001–2009), each year's awards were presented at a banquet in January or February of the following year. In 2010, there was no banquet. Instead, the awards were presented at separate events at the museum and in various major-league ballparks through the spring of 2011. The twelfth annual awards (for 2011) were presented at an awards banquet on January 28, 2012.In January, 2013 Negro Leagues Baseball Museum President Bob Kendrick announced that the 2013 awards banquet would be the final one held. All further awards will be presented to the 2010 awards, at various MLB ballparks or if the award winner happens to be in Kansas City with his team to play against the Royals. The logistics of off-season travel were the primary reason cited by Kendrick for the permanent change. Indeed, of all those honored for their 2012 season only the Padres Everth Cabrera, traveling from his off-season home in Nicaragua, was able to make it to Kansas City for the January 12th banquet and presentation. Previously, the proceeds from the Legacy Awards annual banquet were used for the benefit of the museum.Negro league baseball
The Negro leagues were United States professional baseball leagues comprising teams predominantly made up of African Americans and, to a lesser extent, Latin Americans. The term may be used broadly to include professional black teams outside the leagues and it may be used narrowly for the seven relatively successful leagues beginning in 1920 that are sometimes termed "Negro Major Leagues".
In 1885 the Cuban Giants formed the first black professional baseball team. The first league, the National Colored Base Ball League, was organized strictly as a minor league but failed in 1887 after only two weeks owing to low attendance. The Negro American League of 1951 is considered the last major league season and the last professional club, the Indianapolis Clowns, operated as a humorous sideshow rather than competitively from the mid-1960s to the 1980s.Otsego Independents
The Otsego Independents was a white minor league baseball team in Otsego, Michigan in the early 1900s. It was owned by paper industry magnate George E. Bardeen and was affiliated with the Michigan State League.
Location: Otsego, MI
League: Michigan State League
Ballpark: Memorial Park (probably Diamond #6)The team is best known for its 1902 season, during which their star pitcher was the legendary Andrew Rube Foster. Foster proved his talent by striking out Neal Ball of the Three Rivers team, who would go on to play for the Cleveland Naps in the Major Leagues and became famous as the first player in history to complete an unassisted triple play in a Major League game. Foster was signed by the Cuban X-Giants Negro League team the following year and pitched that team to the 1903 Colored Championship title.
After Foster's departure, Negro Leaguer Pedro Pratt was recruited to the team from Portland, Michigan by former Portland citizens Melvin Gamble and Gale Newman. Newman was a member of Bardeen's pitching staff.Pete Hill
John Preston "Pete" Hill (October 12, 1882 – November 19, 1951) was an American outfielder and manager in baseball's Negro leagues from 1899 to 1925. He played for the Philadelphia Giants, Leland Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, Milwaukee Bears, and Baltimore Black Sox. Hill starred for teams owned by Negro league executive Rube Foster for much of his playing career.
He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.Philadelphia Giants
The Philadelphia Giants were a Negro league baseball team that played from 1902 to 1911. From 1904 to 1909 they were one of the strongest teams in black baseball, winning five eastern championships in six years. The team was organized by Sol White, H. Walter Schlichter, and Harry Smith.Rube Foster (AL pitcher)
George "Rube" Foster (January 5, 1888 in Lehigh, Oklahoma – March 1, 1976 in Bokoshe, Oklahoma) was a Major League Baseball player. Foster was a right-handed pitcher with the Boston Red Sox from 1913 to 1917 and won two World Series championships with the team in 1915 and again in 1916.
Foster was picked up by the Boston Red Sox and made his major league debut for the team on April 10, 1913. Foster acted as a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher for the team during the 19 games he pitched in during the season. Foster posted a 3–3 record with a 3.16 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 68.3 innings pitched.
Foster's sophomore season in the big leagues was one of his best, in which he pitched in 32 games, while starting in 27 of them. He finished with a 14–8 record, and finished second in the American League with an impressive 1.70 ERA. Foster was only behind his Boston Red Sox teammate, Dutch Leonard, who posted a 0.96 ERA, which is now considered the modern day all-time single-season record.
In 1915, Foster posted a 20–8 record, and another impressive 2.11 ERA. Foster most effectively showed his importance to the team in the 1915 World Series where he picked up 2 complete game wins and only gave up 4 earned runs and struck out 13 batters in 18.0 innings. With the bat, Foster went 4-for-8, with a double and an RBI.
Foster had another good campaign in 1916 acting as a starting pitcher and relief pitcher. He went 14–7 in the season, and posted a decent 3.06 ERA. On June 21 of that year, he no-hit the New York Yankees 2-0 at Fenway Park. In the 1916 World Series, Foster came in relief in Game 3, and pitched three scoreless innings. The Red Sox ended up winning the series 4 games to 1, and became the first back-to-back winners of the World Series since the Philadelphia Athletics had done it 5 years earlier.
Foster went back to a mainly starting role in 1917, posting an 8–7 record with a 2.53 ERA.
Before the start of the 1918 season, Foster was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Dave Shean. Rube Foster refused to report to his new team and so the Red Sox sent cash to the Reds to complete the trade.Rube Foster's baseball career ended, and he finished his major league career with 58–33 career pitching record, a 2.36 earned run average and 294 strikeouts in 842.3 innings pitched.Tenny Blount
John Tenny Blount (ca. 1871 – December 29, 1934) was an American sports executive, who owned the Detroit Stars of the Negro National League. He was a friend of Rube Foster, and served as president of the Negro National League. Blount was a numbers banker and ran a gambling establishment.
|J. G. Taylor Spink Award|
|Ford C. Frick Award|
Italics denotes players who have been voted in but not yet inducted.