Rube Foster , byname of Andrew Foster (born September 17, 1879, Calvert, Texas, U.S.—died December 9, 1930, Kankakee, Illinois), American baseball player who gained fame as a pitcher, manager, and owner and as the “father of black baseball” after founding in 1920 the Negro National League (NNL), the first successful professional league for African American ballplayers.
Foster dropped out of school after the eighth grade, and by the age of 18 he had begun playing semiprofessional baseball in Texas for the Waco Yellow Jackets. In 1902 he joined Frank Leland’s Chicago Union Giants but soon left to play in an integrated semiprofessional league in Michigan.
Standing 6 feet 4 inches (1.93 metres) tall, the large right-hander first made his mark on the game in 1903 as a pitcher for the Cuban X-Giants, winning four games (of a seven-game series) against the Philadelphia Giants in the “Colored Championship of the World.” The next year, as a member of the Philadelphia Giants, Foster earned his nickname by outdueling the great Rube Waddell in a game against the Philadelphia Athletics of the American League. In 1905 he totaled 51 victories out of 55 games played.
A dispute over money with the Philadelphia Giants led to Foster’s return to Chicago and the Leland Giants in 1907. As both star pitcher and manager, he guided the team to a 110–10 record that year. His style as a manager was no different from his style as a player—aggressive and intimidating. He was an innovative strategist, and his team members were renowned for their bunting and baserunning, especially the hit-and-run (in which the batter is signaled to hit a pitch regardless of its location and the base runner on first begins running before the pitch is released). In 1910 Foster acquired ownership of the Leland Giants and guided the squad to a 123–6 record.
The next year he joined with businessman John Schorling (a son-in-law of Charles Comiskey) to form the Chicago American Giants. The American Giants, led by Foster as player, manager, and owner, played