Andrew "Rube" Foster September 17, 1879 - December 3, 1930
♪♬ Take me out to the ballgame
take me out to the crowd ♪♫
Thanks to Rube Foster, the sentiment expressed in this popular ode to baseball became a reality for African-American families who were fans of baseball. Father of Negro Baseball, Rube Foster, helped establish the first professional baseball league for African-American players, the Negro National League (NNL). Due to post-Civil War U.S. policy and ideology, segregation remained, thus spawning the need for a Negro Baseball League. Many players would have jumped at the opportunity to play in an integrated baseball league but African-Americans were restricted to teams in the Negro Leagues.
Foster dropped out of school in 8th grade to pursue a career in baseball. In hindsight we understand the risks associated with such a decision, but we also recognize that his decision was historic and changed the future of baseball forever! By age thirty Foster managed his first team and within three years he started his own team. Foster was able to use his incredible business acumen to secure his players the highest share of game revenue, which translated into his players being among the highest paid in the Negro Leagues.
While playing for the Chicago Union Giants in 1902, Foster won 44 consecutive games as a pitcher. His large frame was an intimidating force on the pitcher's mound. Rube Foster's contribution to the game was recognized by the baseball Hall of Fame when he was inducted as a member of the 1981 class.