Born in Texas in 1879, Rube Foster began playing baseball at an early age. He dropped out of school in the eighth grade to play for a local team called the Waco Yellow Jackets. In 1902, he went to play for the Chicago Union Giants. Over the next few years, Foster played for several teams and established himself as a top pitcher, also becoming a team #manager in 1907 for the Leland Giants. Around 1910, Foster started his own team. In 1920, he became famous when he helped establish the Negro National League, the first successful professional baseball league for African-American players. Foster died in Illinois in 1930.
Early Baseball Star
Born on September 17, 1879, in Calvert, Texas, Andrew “Rube” Foster was one of the greatest players in the history of baseball. He was the fifth child of Reverend Andrew Foster and his wife. Foster developed a passion for baseball at a young age, and dropped out of school after finishing the eighth grade to pursue his love of the game.
Tall and powerful, Foster made an imposing figure on the pitcher’s mound. He first played for the Waco Yellow Jackets, a local team. As an African-American pitcher, Foster encountered racism and discrimination frequently during his career. In 1902, he moved north to play for the Chicago Union Giants, one of the top African-American teams in the country at the time. With the Giants, Foster managed to win 44 consecutive games.
The following year, Foster played for the Cuban X-Giants for a season, helping his team defeat the Philadelphia Giants at the 1903 playoffs; the X-Giants ended that season with a 54-1 record. In 1904, Foster joined his former opponents, the Philadelphia Giants, with whom he continued to excel.
Manager and League Founder
Rube Foster joined the Leland Giants in Chicago in 1907, as both a member and manager of the team, and quickly proved that he was as adept at organizing and strategizing as he was at pitching and hitting. Foster then decided to part company with Giants owner Frank Leland and form his own team. He was especially pleased with his 1910 lineup, which included John Henry Lloyd, Bruce Petway and “Home Run” Johnson.
Foster’s team eventually became known as the Chicago American Giants. Under his leadership, the Giants became one of the leading African-American teams in baseball history. Foster played fewer games as the years progressed, choosing to focus his efforts behind the scenes. In 1920, he helped establish the National Negro National League—the first successful professional baseball league for African-American players—serving as the organization’s president and treasurer.
Death and Legacy
Foster experienced a mental breakdown in 1926, and spent his final years in an asylum in Kankakee, Illinois. He died at the asylum on December 9, 1930, at the age of 51.
Foster was admitted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981. He is remembered as the “Father of Negro Baseball,” “Father of the Negro Leagues” and “Father of #Black Baseball.” The Baseball Hall of Fame websitecharacterizes him as “one of baseball’s greatest Renaissance men” for his abilities as a player, manager and league founder.
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