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Rube Foster - Boyhood And Early Barnstorming Career

texas andrew baseball traveling

Andrew Foster was born September 17, 1879, in Calvert, Texas, the son of Andrew Foster, Sr., presiding elder at the Calvert Methodist Episcopal Church, and Sarah Foster. He suffered from asthma as a boy but became as enthusiastic about baseball as he was about attending church. He was soon organizing a neighborhood team, and his interest grew as he did. After his mother died, his father remarried and moved to southwest Texas. Andrew completed the eighth grade and left home to pursue his love of baseball. At age 17 he joined the traveling Fort Worth, Texas, Yellow Jackets and began a barnstorming career that was typical of African-American teams of his time. Ironically, the traveling ball players were looked down on by fellow blacks, who considered them "low and ungentlemanly," according to Foster, as quoted in Robert Peterson's Only the Ball Was White.

In addition to traveling with the Yellow Jackets, Foster pitched to white major league teams that came to Texas for spring training. Legend has it that during a 1901 batting practice with Connie Mack's Philadelphia Athletics, baseball manager John McGraw recognized Foster's pitching ability and wanted him for his New York Giants. However, blacks were barred from playing in the major leagues.

Rube Foster - Moves North, Earns Nickname [next]

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