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Sun, 06.12.1904

Willie Foster was a control pitcher

Willie Foster

On this date in 1904, William Foster was born. He was an African American Negro League baseball player from Calvert, Texas and a graduate of Alcorn State College.

In his 15 Negro League seasons, Willie Foster, half-brother of Negro National League founder, Rube Foster, compiled a near .700 win percentage, mostly with the Chicago American Giants. The pitcher’s repertoire included a blazing fastball, which he mixed well with a variety of breaking and off-speed pitches. Though Foster played briefly with the Memphis Red Sox and a variety of other teams, he spent 10 years in the service of his brother's American Giants.

As the ace of the Chicago staff, Foster led the team to the Negro World Series in 1926 and 1927, setting a league record with 18 wins against only three losses in 1927. In the inaugural East-West All-Star game in 1933, Foster took the mound for the West squad and left with a complete game victory. Again in 1934, Foster represented the American Giants in the all-star game, this time losing a hard-fought 1-0 decision to Satchel Paige. Throughout his career, Foster regularly participated in post-season play in the California Winter League and with barnstorming squads of Negro Leagues all-stars.

In exhibition contests against major league stars, Foster posted a .600+ win percentage. After his retirement from baseball, Foster pursued various coaching positions, ultimately landing the post of head baseball coach and dean of men at his alma mater, Alcorn College in Mississippi. William Foster died on September 16, 1978, in Lorman, Mississippi. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

Reference:
The Negro Baseball Leagues: A Photographic History
By Phil Dixon with Patrick J. Hannigan
Copyright 1992, Jed Clauss and Joanna Paulsen
Ameron House Publishing
ISBN 0-88488-0425-2

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