Born September 17, 1879, in
Foster dropped out of school after the eighth grade, by the time he was
18 he had begun playing semiprofessional baseball in
Standing 6 feet 4 inches tall, the huge right-hander first made his mark on the game in 1903 as a pitcher for the Cuban X-Giants, winning four games out of seven 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 out dueling 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.
In 1907 after a dispute over money with the Philadelphia Giants Foster returned to Chicago and the Leland Giants. 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 base running, especially the hit-and-run 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 became the owner of the Leland Giants and guided the squad to a 123–6 record.
The next year he joined with businessman John Schorling to form the
Chicago American Giants. The American Giants led by Foster as player, manager,
and owner, played at
© 2006 by William Sims