Brown: Minneapolis-born star Elmer Foster was a most colorful character in 19th-century baseball

From Curt Brown at the Minneapolis Star-Tribune on November 2, 2019:

The 2019 Twins walloped their way into the baseball playoffs — not to mention the history books — with the most home runs ever launched.

But now that the long season is history, here’s a quote for fans slumping into winter withdrawal:

“The game of today is more scientific than when I played it. In my day we played more for the sport of the thing, but now the players are thoroughly commercialized. They are after the coin.”

Elmer Ellsworth Foster, maybe the best Minnesota baseball player you never heard of, uttered those prophetic words back in 1923. That was 30 years after Foster, a Minneapolis-born baseball star in the 1880s and ’90s, retired to sell pianos.

“He was the Ty Cobb of his day,” sportswriter George Barton wrote in 1923. “Baseball fans of Minneapolis who saw Foster play when in his prime never tire telling of the remarkable fielding and batting feats of the once-famous Elmer.”

A colorful carouser, poet and actor off the field, Foster is among the forgotten characters who will be revived at the 19th Century Minnesota Baseball Symposium on Nov. 16 at the Minneapolis Central Library. The daylong, $40 event — sponsored by the local chapter of the Society for American Baseball Research — features top baseball historians and local experts.

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Originally published: November 4, 2019. Last Updated: November 4, 2019.