From Alyson Footer at MLB.com on May 20, 2014:
The Civil Rights Game has traveled around the country to various venues since the first one was held in Memphis, Tenn., in 2007, and on May 30, when the Astros host the Orioles, it’s landing in Houston, a city that played a big role in helping move the movement forward in the South 50-plus years ago.
The Civil Rights Game, and its message, encompasses the most important elements of the integration of both America and Major League Baseball. To fully embrace and understand the significance of baseball desegregating in earnest beginning in 1947, it’s important to know what — and who — came before that.
That brings us to Andrew “Rube” Foster, a pioneer of one of the most important eras of the game’s history, whose body of work earned him a moniker unmatched by anyone from that time: “The Father of Black Baseball.”
Foster was reared not far from Houston, in a small, proud town named Calvert, Texas — located about 120 miles from the Bayou City in the Bryan-College Station metro area.
Importance-wise, Foster’s Texas ties pale in comparison to other things he’s known for, like being at the front and center of the efforts to create and operate an organized baseball league that preceded African-Americans gaining entry into Major League Baseball. Foster was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.
But as the Civil Rights Game festivities culminate in Houston a short time from now, it’s appropriate to give the proverbial tip of the cap to a native Texan who had a profound impact on baseball in the early 20th century, and whose influence is still felt nearly 100 years later.
Originally published: May 20, 2014. Last Updated: May 20, 2014.