Calvert Pays Tribute To Its Historic Baseball Past

By: Shane McAuliffe Email
By: Shane McAuliffe Email

Calvert is full of incredible history.

While it's known for its "take you back in time" feeling, there's more to this town than most people know.

Everywhere you look, you'll see a historical marker. In fact there are more than 70 markers in Robertson County celebrating the rich history of Texas.

And over on the city's west side at Payne-Kemp park, you'll find the newest historical marker. A plaque that pays tribute to the ghosts of baseballs past and one of its founding fathers, Andrew "Rube" Foster.

"We have got some good people that come from Calvert," said Calvert city council woman Bobbie Jean Alford.

Alford found out about Foster a few years ago. The son of a preacher, Rube was born in Calvert in 1879 and had one heck of a fastball.

The 6 foot 3 inch, 200 pound Texan was a baseball star in the early part of the 20th century, but back then black baseball wasn't organized, it was simply a bunch of teams with no real order. Foster changed all of that. While managing the Chicago American Giants in the 1920's, Rube created the Negro National League. A league that survived for over 30 years until Jackie Robinson was finally allowed to play in the major leagues.

For his incredible contribution to baseball, Andrew Rube Foster was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1981.

When Bobbie Jean found out Rube was a Calvert native, she felt like the town hit a home run.

"It felt great. I mean he's in the Hall of Fame in New York," said Alford.

Bobbie helped with an effort to get Foster a more local dedication and last October the State of Texas erected the historical marker. It's brought one big thing to Bobbie Jean.

"Community pride," shouted Alford.

Rube Foster used to tell his players, "I don't need three hits from you everyday. I don't even need two. But I do need one at the right time." His historical marker in Calvert came at the right time for the town.

"Look around. Calvert is not the richest city in Robertson County and it's just another thing to let the kids know, hey, you've got something to be proud of," said Alford.

The funny thing is in a town with such rich baseball history, you won't find one team ready to hit the diamond.

"We don't have baseball or softball here in Calvert. It lets them know that if they played back in the 1800's, well than we can,' said Alford.

Now that its baseball lineage has been re-discovered, Bobbie Jean hopes the desire to bring the nation's past time back to Calvert's youth becomes as big as Rube was.

"I want them to have it and I'm going to do my best to get it for them. Me and Rube," said Alford, pointing to the historical marker.

And as it turns out Rube Foster isn't the only Calvert native in the National Baseball Hall of Fame. His half brother William Foster won 26 games in 1926 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.

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