“Foster Likes to Boast About Four Things”

31 Mar

In 1926, Rollo Wilson of The Pittsburgh Courier acknowledged that it was a difficult task to get “Rube Foster to talk baseball,” after approaching him in Pittsburgh’s 15th Street Café where Foster “was seated contemplating a filet mignon, make it two.”

RubeFoster

Rube Foster

As one of the few extant interviews of Foster, it provides a some insight into his career—although his recollections are not entirely accurate—as noted in this Agate Type post.

Two years earlier, The Baltimore Afro-American managed to get a few sentences out of Foster; calling him “no Czar of baseball,” the paper said:

“On the contrary, he is simply a big , fat, good natured and successful baseball manager who after 43 years in baseball has risen from a salary of $40 a month and 15 cent meals to $100 a day and one of the finest homes in Chicago.”

Foster told the paper:

“Five years ago, colored baseball players got nothing out of the game. Last year fans paid $380,000 to see colored baseball.”

The paper said Foster “likes to boast” about four things:

“(1) that as a 19-year-old pitcher he was the best in the country and points with pride to the fact that he out pitched Rube Waddell and with his 10 men whipped the best teams in the country, (2) that he organized the first Negro baseball league, which have developed more than any other agency. (3) that he knows more people than any other colored man in the United States, (4) that he has never entered politics and he has never cast a vote.”

Foster didn’t like politics but was “crazy about automobiles;” and had a “Chrysler Runabout and an Apperson Jackrabbit Sedan that he bought this spring.”

Rube didn’t use a chauffeur and told the paper:

“(He) says he can make 70 miles in either of them.”

The brief interview was so rare the paper ran it again in it’s entirety after Foster was admitted the Kankakee (IL) State Hospital in September of 1926; he died there in 1930.

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