Bill Foster (baseball)

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Bill Foster
Born: (1904-06-12)June 12, 1904
Calvert, Texas
Died: September 16, 1978(1978-09-16) (aged 74)
Lorman, Mississippi
Batted: Switch Threw: Left
Professional debut
Negro National League: 1923, Memphis Red Sox
Last professional appearance
1937, Chicago American Giants
Career statistics
Win-Loss 143–69
Earned run average 2.40
Career highlights and awards
Inducted 1996
Election Method Veterans Committee

William Hendrick "Bill" Foster (June 12, 1904 – September 16, 1978) was an American left-handed pitcher in baseball's Negro leagues in the 1920s and 1930s, and had a career record of 143-69.[1] He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

Foster, the much-younger half-brother of Negro league player, pioneer, and fellow Hall of Famer, Rube Foster, was born in Calvert, Texas in 1904.

Professional career[edit]

Foster played for the Memphis Red Sox in 1923 and '24, the Chicago American Giants from 1925 to '30—and again from 1932 to '35 and in 1937—the Homestead Grays and Kansas City Monarchs in 1931, and the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1936.

Foster played for Chicago American Giants teams that won the Negro National League pennant and the Negro League World Series championship in 1926 and 1927, the Negro Southern League pennant in 1932, and the Negro National League pennant in 1933.[2] He was the player-manager of the team in 1930.[3]

In 1926, Foster won 23 games in a row and 26 overall, but his most amazing performance came the last day of the playoffs to determine the Negro National League title. Needing to win both games of a doubleheader against the Kansas City Monarchs, Foster hurled complete game shutouts in both games of a doubleheader against Bullet Joe Rogan and the Monarchs, 1–0 and 5–0, to put the Giants in the World Series.[4][5]

In 1931 Foster, as a pitcher for the Homestead Grays, recorded a 10–2 record against rival African-American teams.[6] His record against rival African-American teams increases to 11–3, if you count the games that were won and lost in Alcorn, Mississippi, when Syd Pollock's Cubans House of Davids visited Alcorn College prior to Foster joining the Grays. Foster finished the 1931 campaign with J. L. Wilkinson's Kansas City Monarchs where on October 4, 1931 he blew his fast ball past a major league all-star team composed of such legendary men as Babe Herman, Joe Kuhel and both Waner brothers, Lloyd and Paul. In the game played at Kansas City's Muehlebach Field, Foster captured a 4–3 win. During the 1931 season Foster struck out ten men in a game on nine different occasions and posted a seasonal high of sixteen strikeouts in Vandergrift, Pennsylvania, on August 6. He also recorded four shutouts. Foster finished 1931 with a 23-5 record.

He was the top vote getter and the winning pitcher in the first East-West All-Star Game in 1933, and was on the All-Star team again in 1934.

Foster's pitch selection included a fastball, overhand curve, slider, sidearm curve, and a changeup.[7] This arsenal made him one of the better pitchers on the classic 1990s baseball game, Old Time Baseball.[citation needed]

Later life[edit]

From 1960 to 1977 Foster was a dean and the baseball coach at his alma mater, Alcorn Agricultural and Mechanical College. In 1978 Foster died in Lorman, Mississippi, at the age of 74.


  1. ^ Hogan 2006, pp. 404–05.
  2. ^ Clark and Lester 1994, pp. 164–65.
  3. ^ Riley 1994, p. 293.
  4. ^ Big Bill Foster – Negro Leagues Player
  5. ^ Bill Foster, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd.
  6. ^ Dixon 2009.
  7. ^ James and Neyer 2004, p. 208.


  • Clark, Dick; Lester, Larry (1994), The Negro Leagues Book, Cleveland, Ohio: Society for American Baseball Research 
  • Dixon, Phil (2009). Phil Dixon's American Baseball Chronicles, Great Teams, The 1931 Homestead Grays Volume I. Xlibris. ISBN 1-4415-7471-9. 
  • Hogan, Lawrence D. (2006), Shades of Glory: The Negro Leagues and the Story of African-American Baseball, Washington DC: National Geographic, ISBN 0-7922-5306-X 
  • James, Bill; Neyer, Rob (2004), The Neyer/James Guide to Pitchers, New York: Simon & Schuster, ISBN 0-7432-6158-5 
  • Riley, James A. (1994), The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues, New York: Carroll & Graf, ISBN 0-7867-0959-6 

External links[edit]