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Roy Foster

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Outfielder Roy Foster had a brief but successful career with the Cleveland Indians, winning The Sporting News Rookie of the Year Award in 1970 before injuries cut his playing days short.

After graduating from B.T. Washington High School, Foster was signed by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1963. He later played in the New York Mets organization before being taken by the Milwaukee Brewers in the 1969 Rule V draft. However, before he could even play in a game for the Brewers, he was traded to the Cleveland Indians just before the beginning of the 1970 season.

Foster was the Opening Day leftfielder for the Indians in 1970, and hit a home run off Dave McNally of the Baltimore Orioles in his first big league game. Overall, he hit 23 homers that year, second on the team behind Graig Nettles. He was also second on the team in doubles behind Vada Pinson. Thurman Munson was a near-unanimous winner of the 1970 American League Rookie of the Year Award, but Foster got one vote and thus finished second in the voting. The Sporting News, however, chose Foster as their American League Rookie Player of the Year.

Foster's second season in the majors in 1971 doesn't look as good, with a .245 batting average and 18 home runs, but it was the second dead-ball era and the team had a .238 average, and his home run total was again second behind Nettles. His 23 doubles were also again second behind Pinson. The Cleveland Indians Encyclopedia indicates that Foster suffered an injury during the second half of the season.

Foster was traded to the Texas Rangers during the off-season but then traded back to the Indians again at the start of the season. The 1972 starting outfield was totally different from 1971, with Buddy Bell, Del Unser, and Alex Johnson, and there was a new manager, Ken Aspromonte. Foster became a backup outfielder and pinch-hitter, hitting .224 on a team that hit .234. His four home runs don't seem like much, but since he had only 141 at-bats he was hitting homers at a pace faster than most of the team (Nettles led the team with only 17 in 557 at-bats). Following the 1972 season, injuries ended his playing career.

In 2007, Foster was chosen as # 98 on the Oklahoma Centennial Top 100 Greatest Oklahoman Baseball Players. He died in 2008 at age 62.

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