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 arguably more influential in breaking down the color barrier in major league baseball than the venerable Jackie Robinson.
Born in 1879, Rube Foster pitched for the legendary black baseball teamsthe Cuban X-Giants and the Philadelphia Giants before becoming player-manager of the Leland Giants and the Chicago American Giants. Long a central figure in black baseball, he founded baseball's first black leaguethe Negro National League in 1920. From its inception, the Negro League served as a vehicle through which many of the finest black players could showcase their considerable talents. Challenging racial discrimination and stereotypes, it ultimately set the stage for future efforts to contest Jim Crow.
Despite the long-standing success of the Negro National League as an influential black institution, Rube Foster was deeply embittered by organized baseball's unmitigated refusal to lift the color barrier. He died a broken man in 1930.
The 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.
"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." --Choice "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 "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