The Best Pitcher in Baseball: The Life of Rube Foster, Negro League Giant

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When Rube Foster was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, his rightful place alongside baseball's greatest black heroes was at last firmly established. A world-class pitcher, a formidable manager, and a brilliant administrator, Rube Foster was possibly more influential in breaking down the color barrier in major league baseball than the great Jackie Robinson. Born in 1879, Rube Foster pitched for the legendary black baseball teams -- the Cuban X-Giants and the Philadelphia Giants -- before becoming player-manager of the equally renowned Leland Giants and the Chicago American Giants. Long a central figure in black baseball, he founded baseball's first black league -- the Negro National League -- in 1920. Challenging racial discrimination and stereotypes, it ultimately set the stage for future efforts to contest Jim Crow. sThe Best Pitcher in Baseball is the story of a man of unparalleled vision and organizational acumen whose passion for justice changed the face of baseball forever. It is a moving tribute to a man and his dream.
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Editorial Reviews

Library Journal
Andrew (Rube) Foster was a star pitcher, winning manager, and founder of the Negro National League. But was he better than Cy Young, Walter Johnson, or any other hurler? Cottrell (1920: The Black Sox, Blackball, and the Babe) so contends in this admiring view. He covers Foster's successes and disappointments, his fight for equality, and his belated election to the Hall of Fame in 1981. Sadly, Foster died in 1930, too soon to see the game's integration. The photos and other illustrations add luster to this black baseball-era tribute. A worthy addition to most sports history shelves. [Cottrell is also an LJ reviewer. Ed.] Morey Berger, St. Joseph's Hosp. Lib., Tucson Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
From the Publisher
"Cottrell's biography of Foster is a solid contribution to the literature on one of the unjustifiably dark corners of baseball history."

-Elysian Fields Quarterly

"Rube Foster ranks with Charles Comiskey, Connie Mack, and John McGraw as one of the founding giants of modern baseball. As player, manager, owner, and executive he set the standard for baseball in black America during the early twentieth century. The Best Pitcher In Baseball clearly establishes Foster's greatness and his extraordinary contributions to the national pastime."

-Jules Tygiel,author of Past Time: Baseball As History

“Robert Charles Cottrell's definitive biography of Rube Foster adds much to our knowledge of this commanding figure in the history of the old black baseball leagues."

-Robert Peterson,author of Only the Ball Was White

"He deftly examines Foster's outstanding career on the diamond in the early 1900s...Cottrell effectively documents Foster's contributions to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981."


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814716151
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2004
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 232
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.58 (d)

Meet the Author

Robert Charles Cottrell is Professor of History and American Studies at California State University-Chico. His books include include Izzy: A Biography of I.F. Stone and Roger Nash Baldwin and the American Civil Liberties Union.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
1 The Best Pitcher in the Country 7
2 At the Top of His Game 20
3 A Return to the Midwest 32
4 The Leland Giants 49
5 The Chicago American Giants and the Making of a Black Baseball Dynasty 62
6 Another Championship 78
7 The Dynasty Is Interrupted 89
8 Back on Top in Wartime 106
9 Rube Ball 120
10 Black Baseball and the Segregated Community 126
11 Organizing Black Baseball 141
12 Czar of Black Baseball 158
13 Rube Foster's Legacy 174
14 The Drive to Cooperstown 184
Notes 191
Bibliography 221
Index 225
About the Author 232
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