Andrew Rube Foster Signed Photo
The enduring significance of Andrew “Rube” Foster is that he had a monumental impact on the evolution not just of the Negro leagues that kept hope alive for an entire race of people unfairly kept from the national pastime, but in the evolution of pitching as an art, and even in the evolution of the team and league management. Clearly, only a man of prodigious abilities and genius could have achieved such a legacy, and Rube had them all. Most of all, he had a passion for baseball. So good was he as a young man that, even though prohibited from big league mounds, John McGraw had Foster teach Christy Mathewson how to throw his “fadeaway”, or screwball. Foster, who got his nickname by beating Rube Waddell in an exhibition game against white stars, pitched brilliantly for several early black teams (he once won 33 straight games and went 51-4 in one season), managed the Chicago Leland Giants in the 1910s, then founded the legendary Chicago American Giants, around which Foster created the Negro National League in 1919. Foster acted as league president until 1926, ruling it completely, forging business relationships with white owners such as Charlie Comiskey to have his team play in Comiskey Park. These were all pioneering acts, and his vision extended beyond his death in 1930 in the continued progress of the Negro leagvues. Baseball recognized his legacy by electing him to the Hall of Fame in 1981. This photograph of “The Father of Negro Baseball” -- probably the most famous shot of Foster, and a perfect representation of his intensity and swagger -- is 4 3/4 x 6 3/4” and shows Foster seated and wearing a suit and tie. It is signed in black fountain ink “Andrew Rube Foster” -- obviously a tremendous find, as it is the only known signed photo of Rube Foster known to exist! The signature rates a “6” out of a possible 10. The photograph has excellent contrast and has “AP Bedou, New Orleans” imprinted on the lower right hand side. Overall, the photo is in EX-MT condition with some minor tape stains at the corners. More history still is that the photo belonged to Rube’s half-brother, Willie Foster, a Hall of Famer himself who was managed by Rube. In Willie’s hand is a touching, hand-written “My Brother” on the bottom of the photo. The photo came from the Willie Foster family and is one of the most important pieces of Negro league memorabilia and its prime visionary we’ve seen in years.