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Bud Fowler

Second Base
  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Findlay
  • Team: Sluggers
  • League: Independent

John W. Fowler (nee Jackson) (1858-1913) was the first black pro ballplayer. He got his start with the Lynn, MA Live Oaks, besting Tommy Bond’s NL champs in an exhibition game on April 24, 1878. He played for minor league clubs in New England and Canada until his life changed dramatically in 1887. For two decades the stain of Jim Crow had spread northward and arrived in Binghamton NY, whose white players decided they couldn’t any longer abide their black mates. The “Gentlemen’s Agreement” took hold, leaving few integrated leagues for Fowler. Undeterred, Bud found teams in the west. By 1892 Sporting Life asserted the Nebraska League was “the only league in the country which permits the employment of colored players.” Still undeterred, Fowler and Findlay, OH teammate Home Run Johnson determined to found their own franchise which became the Page Fence Giants of Adrian MI, pioneering barnstorming and showmanship.

  • “Those who know say there is no better second baseman in the country” said Sporting Life. Yet, Fowler died in poverty, excluded from the white game until Cooperstown, his hometown, named the street to Doubleday Field for him on the centenary of his passing
  • Fowler played a greater number of seasons and games in professional baseball than any African-American until 1956, when Jackie Robinson played his 11th professional and final (10th) season for the Brooklyn Dodgers

Auction History

Dave Foutz

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Brooklyn
  • Team: Grooms
  • League: National League

David Luther Foutz (1856-1897) compiled the 2nd highest winning % of all time (.690) for the St. Louis Browns & Brooklyn Bridegrooms over a 13 year career. A fine batsman, he hit .357 for Brooklyn in ’87 & won 25 games on the mound. Foutz was so highly prized that Browns’ owner Chris Von der Ahe bought the Bay City, MI franchise to get him.

  • Was sold to the Bridegrooms in 1888 for $13.5k, then led Brooklyn to pennants in ’89 & ‘90
  • Ended his career as player-manager for the Bridegrooms from 1893-1896
  • Forced to retire due to ill health, Foutz succumbed to asthma at the age of 40

Auction History

Elmer Foster

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: New York
  • Team: Giants
  • League: National League

Elmer Ellsworth Foster (1861-1946) was an outfielder with the New York Metropolitans, New York Giants and Chicago Colts over a six year span beginning in 1886. The very rare baseballer who threw left and batted right, Foster achieved a career batting average of .187.

  • One of the first five major leaguers born in Minnesota
  • Played at Haverhill with future Hall of Famers Wilbert Robinson and Tommy McCarthy
  • Noted for his speed on the base paths, Foster always had an explanation if caught stealing: “Why, I wasn’t a bit tired. Why should I have stopped running?”

Auction History

Monkey Foreman

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Toledo
  • Team: White Stockings
  • League: Western League

Francis Isaiah Foreman (1863-1957) played hardball for 28 pro franchises over a career that began with the Lancaster, PA Ironsides in 1884 and ended with the Meriden, CT Silverites in 1905. Such longevity suggests the big guy (over six feet) knew how to pitch and how to protect his arm in an era when so many burned out quickly. Fifty-four of his 96 career wins in the majors came in a three year streak with Baltimore, Cincinnati and Washington from 1889-91. Foreman could hit, too, at least when the fences came in. On July 4, 1895 Frank pitched the nightcap for his Reds in Chicago. The local officials wanted to accommodate the expected crowd and moved the fences in a hundred feet. Umps ruled balls in seats would be HRs. Frank hit two, but surrendered six, losing 9-5.

  • Frank’s brother Brownie joined him with the Reds in ‘96 putting the Foremans on a list of nearly 100 brother-teammates in big league history
  • Frank coached at Gettysburg College in the off-season and showed his eye for talent when he urged his friend Connie Mack to sign a kid named Eddie Plank in 1901

Auction History

Curry Foley

  • Series: Pioneer Portraits II: 1875-1899
  • City: Buffalo
  • Team: Bisons
  • League: National League

Charles Joseph Foley (1856-1898) was a versatile Irishman with the Boston Redcaps & Buffalo Bisons over six seasons, playing OF, 1B & pitching. Foley was an early & tragic victim of the reserve clause. Already impaired by rheumatism, he was run out of the game by management who saw a faker & would neither play nor release him.

  • First batter to hit for the cycle (in 1882)
  • Participated in the first duel of left-handers, versus Bobby Mitchell of Cleveland, July 19, 1879
  • Cited by John Montgomery Ward as a prime example of the abuses of the reserve clause

Auction History