Negro Leagues Pioneer/Executive Rube Foster

Foster was also a great pitcher. I read plenty of stories about his pitching. Baseball Reference has records of 88 games in pitched in exhibitions and foreign games. I guess you call them exhibitions as they aren’t considered major league games. However, some were in the winter league and against quality opponents, so exhibition is probably not a strong enough word. Anyway, it shows that Foster was a great pitcher in those games. He had an ERA of 2.51 in those games over 12 seasons.

Foster was an easy vote for the Hall of Fame as he was known as “The Father of Negro Baseball”. What Foster did to earn this moniker was at the end of 1919 get seven other owners of Negro teams (Foster co-owned his own team) to form the Negro National League. It worked and Foster even gave up some of his best players to make the league more competitive. However, his Chicago American Giants team won the League easily.

He won the league easily again in 1921. His teams were competitive the other 5 years he ended. It could be argued that his Chicago team won the pennant in 1922 as it had the highest winning percentage. However, they played 17 less games than the Kansas City Monarchs and I would give them the pennant. However, Chicago was declared the pennant winners as it was apparently agreed upon that the team with the highest winning percentage would win the league. Also, some games might not have been recorded and Baseball Reference might not have the final standings. However as thorough as Baseball Reference is I’m guessing it is probably the former.

At this time, Foster was head of the league which was questioned by some. However, Foster wanted the league as competitive as possible, and in 1922 it was by the first four teams. Kansas City did win the pennant in 1924 with Chicago in second.

Apparently Foster always had mental health problems. However, he was found unconscious in a hotel room in June 1925 after accidentally inhaling gas from a leaky pipe. His behavior sadly became more eccentric after the incident. In September of 1926, he was committed to an institution. He spent the last four years of his life there. It was a sad ending to a courageous effective leader.

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