Andrew (Rube) Foster, founder of the Negro baseball leagues and member of the Baseball Hall of Fame, was born in Calvert, Texas, on September 17, 1879, the son of Andrew and Sarah Foster. His father was the presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal Church in Calvert, and his half-brother, Willie, was also a prominent Negro League player.
Foster began a barnstorming career at age seventeen pitching with the traveling Waco Yellow Jackets. By 1902 his abilities enabled him to move north, where he pitched for some of the foremost Black teams of his era, including the Chicago Union Giants and the Philadelphia Giants. In 1902 he won the nickname Rube for defeating White Hall of Fame pitcher Rube Wadell in an exhibition game. In 1903 he won four games of the first of what was called the Colored World Series.
After an illustrious playing career Foster became a baseball manager and businessman. He helped form the Chicago American Giants in 1911 and in February 1920 organized the Negro League. He was selected its first president. Foster's Chicago American Giants were the most prominent team in the early years of the league. They traveled in a private Pullman car and barnstormed the nation, playing both exhibition and regular league games. At a time when there were few opportunities for Blacks, Foster and his team held celebrity status in Black America and were followed avidly through nationally circulated Black newspapers.
Foster married Sarah Watts. He left baseball due to mental illness in 1926 and died in an Illinois asylum on December 9, 1930. At his well-attended, highly emotional funeral, he was eulogized as the "father of Negro baseball." He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981, in acknowledgment of the role the Negro leagues played in American life before the integration of baseball and of his own role in baseball history.