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In 1919, severe riots broke out in a number of American cities. Andrew "Rube" Foster, a highly successful black businessman, coincidentally began forming the Negro National Baseball League in Chicago, the year of the riots. The purpose was to provide the north's new black citizens with professional baseball of their own. It was Foster's objective, he said, "to create a profession that would equal the earning capacity of other professions, and keep colored baseball from the control of whites," and "do something concrete for the loyalty of the race."

Rube Foster

Known as the best black pitcher of his time, Foster earned the nickname "Rube" by outpitching white star Rube Wadell in a 1902 exhibition game. Now he was becoming known as black baseball's first great impresario. Eight teams were formed to make up Foster's league -- the Kansas City Monarchs , Indianapolis ABC's, Dayton Marcos, Chicago Giants, Chicago American Giants, Detroit Stars, St. Louis Giants, and the Cuban Giants who were without a hometown. 1920 marked the initial season of THE NEGRO BASEBALL LEAGUES.

"Organization is its only hope. With the proper organization, patterned after the men who have made baseball a success, we will, in three years, be rated as other leagues are rated .... We could then let the best clubs in our organization play for the world's championship with other clubs, champions of their leagues." - Rube Foster, 1913
(published in the Indianapolis Freeman)... more on Foster

authentic wool-flannel jersey of Chicago American Giants
Authentic NLB Jerseys
 Career & Personal Bio

sports editor Elwood Knox, Rube Foster,J.D.Howard and C.I. "Candy Jim" Taylor

1916 Playoff: Chic. Amer. Giants
vs. Indianapolis ABC's


» Teams:


» BATS: right
»THROWS: right
» HEIGHT: 6' 2"
» WEIGHT: 200
» BORN:Sept.17, 1879, Calvert, TX
» DIED: Dec. 9, 1930, Kankakee, IL
»  Bill Foster - the younger half-brother of the Father of Negro Baseball, Rube Foster
Rube Foster

Rube Foster

click image above to hear more

The first Negro World Series, played between the two leagues, was in 1924 between the Kansas City Monarchs of the National League, and the Philadelphia Hilldales representing the Eastern League. The Monarchs won the series in ten games. The star pitcher of the Series was a black Cuban named Jose Melendez, whom the Major League's John McGraw had said he would gladly pay $50,000 for Melendez's services, if only he were white. And so it all began...

As many of Foster's stars were lured away by the Eastern League for better pay, Foster held on but the strain became too much for him. In 1926, Foster was institutionalized fragile and delusional in believing he was going to throw out the first pitch of the white World Series. He died four years later, as more than 3,000 mourners withstood icy rain and wind to witness the funeral procession.


Andrew (Rube) Foster was a great pitcher in his prime, but he is not generally remembered for his arm. Rube is the man that organized the first black baseball league, the Negro National League. Due to his great management, the league stayed together for many years. His first year in baseball was spent as a pitcher in the Chicago Union Giants franchise. He finished the year with 51 victories including a win against the great pitcher, Rube Waddell (that's where Foster got his nickname). He continued his awesome pitching into the next year compiling a 54-1 record with the Cuban X-Giants. He joined the Philadelphia Giants squad the next year, winning 2 games in the playoffs against his former teammates. He began his managerial career with the Leland Giants in 1907 when Frank Leland hired Foster to play and manage with the team. In 1910, following his brilliant playing career, he organized one of the best black teams in history, the Chicago American Giants. Players such as John Henry Lloyd, Pete Hill, and Home Run Johnson were on this team. Sometimes, even Foster himself played on the team as a pitcher. The American Giants absolutely demolished all other competition, winning an estimated 11 championships. In 1920, Foster established the first formal Negro League, called the Negro National League. The league flourished for ten great years until his sudden death in 1930. Rube Foster was finally recognized for his priceless achievements when he was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981..
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