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.
"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