Thursday, February 22, 2007

100 Greatest Red Sox >> #68 Rube Foster

Rube Foster, SP, (1913-1917)

58-33, 138 G, 103 GS, 60 CG, 2.36 ERA

George “Rube” Foster was born on Thursday, January 5, 1888, in Lehigh, Oklahoma. Foster was 25 years old when he broke into the big leagues on April 10, 1913, with the Boston Red Sox. He was a right-handed pitcher with the Red Sox from 1913 to 1917 and won two World Series championships with the team in 1915 and again in 1916.

Foster acted as a starting pitcher and a relief pitcher for the Red Sox during the 19 games he pitched during the season. He posted a 3-3 record with a 3.16 ERA and 36 strikeouts in 68.3 innings pitched.

Foster’s sophomore season in the big leagues was one of his best, in which he pitched in 32 games, while starting 27 of them. After Boston teammate Smoky Joe Wood taught him how to throw a fastball, the 5’7" Foster went 14-8 (1.65) in 1914. On May 26, 1914, Rube Foster’s string of 42 consecutive scoreless innings was stopped by Cleveland in the 5th inning. The Naps prevailed to win, 3–2.

He finished second in the American League with an impressive 1.70 ERA. Foster was only behind his fellow Red Sox team mate, Dutch Leonard, who posted a 0.96 ERA, which is now considered the modern day, all-time single-season record. Team mates Leonard, Foster, and Ernie Shore had three of the top four ERAs, the other belonging to Walter Johnson.

In 1915, Foster posted a 19-8 record, and an another impressive 2.11 ERA. Foster most effectively showed his importance to the team in the 1915 World Series where he picked up 2 complete game wins and only gave up 4 earned runs and struck out 13 batters in 18.0 innings. With the bat, Foster went 4-for-8, with a double and an RBI.

The 1915 World Series was of the most tightly contested World Series and was a week long pitching clinic, starting with the legendary Pete Alexander, who outdueled the Sox’ Ernie Shore, 3-1, in the opener by holding Boston to eight harmless singles. Rube Foster was the story in the series equalizer, firing a three-hitter and driving in the deciding run in the 2-1 victory with an RBI single in the top of the ninth. Back in Boston, Dutch Leonard spun another three-hit gem, against Alexander no less, in a bookend 2-1 win, and the next day the Sox made it three straight wins by an identical score. Game 5 in Philadelphia would qualify as a slugfest. Staked to a 4-2 lead, Eppa Rixey served up a two-run shot to the Sox’ Duffy Lewis in the eighth, and Harry Hooper struck for a solo blast in the ninth. After his rough start, Foster settled down to skunk the Phillies over the final five innings, cementing Boston’s third Series title.

Foster had another good campaign in 1916 acting as a starting pitcher and relief pitcher. He went 14-7 in the season, and posted a decent 3.06 ERA. In the 1916 World Series, Foster came in relief in Game 3, and pitched three scoreless innings. The Red Sox ended up winning the series 4 games to 1, and became the first back-to-back winners of the World Series since the Philadelphia Athletics had done it 5 years earlier.

Foster went back to a mainly starting role in 1917, posting an 8-7 record with a 2.53 ERA. Before the start of the 1918 season, Foster was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Dave Shean. Rube Foster refused to report to his new team so the Red Sox sent cash to the Cincinnati Reds to complete the trade.

Rube Foster’s baseball career ended. He finished his major league career with 58-33 career pitching record, a 2.36 earned run average and 294 strikeouts in 842.3 innings pitched.

Player Biography by Karen

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