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Entries : Andrew "Rube" Foster: A Baseball Legend
Andrew "Rube" Foster: A Baseball Legend

Andrew "Rube" Foster: A Baseball Legend

Rube Foster, 1909
Rube Foster left school after the eighth grade to become a ballplayer but was limited to all-black teams, because the major and minor leagues were segregated after 1898. After an outstanding career, Foster moved to Chicago and became the Leland Giants' playing manager in 1907. Three years later, his squad capped repeated semipro championships against local white leagues with a closely fought but unsuccessful series against the Chicago Cubs.

In 1910 Foster gained control of the Leland Giants, in partnership with white saloonkeeper John Schorling. After an extraordinary 123–6 record in 1910, the team was renamed the American Giants. An outstanding recruiter and negotiator, Foster always secured for his teams at least half of all nonleague game proceeds; his players earned more than black postal workers or schoolteachers.

On February 13, 1920, Foster piloted the formation of the Negro National League (NNL), in part to promote economic development in black communities. As president and treasurer of the eight-team circuit, Foster ran it benevolently, wiring money to keep struggling traveling teams afloat, and trading his own star players to keep the league competitive.

In 1926 Foster suffered a nervous breakdown and was committed to an insane asylum. His beloved league collapsed in 1930, partly due to the Great Depression, but mainly from the loss of its leader. In 1981 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame.