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Rube Foster Biography

Boyhood And Early Barnstorming Career, Moves North, Earns Nickname, Chronology, Chicago American Giants

1879-1930

American baseball player

Andrew "Rube" Foster, founder and first president of the Negro National League, is known as the Father of Black Baseball. An outstanding pitcher who began his own career as a player at age 17, Foster supported black teams throughout his life and worked for the legitimization, respect, and financial success of African-American baseball. A creative and intelligent businessman, Foster also helped to form the Chicago American Giants, a powerhouse team that some say would have rivaled the New York Yankees had they been allowed to play in the same league. Foster began his career as a team manager with the Leland Giants in 1907, urging them to a 110-10 record. His Chicago American Giants took home the Negro National League's first three pennants, in 1920, 1921, and 1922. Although his career came to an end in 1926 after he suffered a mental breakdown, Foster had firmly established the Negro leagues as an important institution in American baseball. Even though the leagues began to decline after 1945, when Jackie Robinson became the first African American to play in the major leagues, they had brought well-deserved recognition to African-American athletes in the United States. Foster was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981 for his contribution to the sport.

Sketch by Ann H. Shurgin

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Famous Sports StarsBaseball