Cubs of Yore: Kevin Foster 1969-2008

October 15, 2008 | Comments (0) | by Arcturus

Nickname: N/A

Played for the Cubs: 1994-1998

Random Write-Up: Kevin was one of many workman like pitchers who made up the Cubs' rotation from 1994 through 1998, joining the likes of Frank Castillo, Jim Bullinger, Steve Trachsel, Mike Morgan, Jaime Navarro, Mark Clark, and Mike Morgan. Foster's best year was in 1995, when he started 28 games for the Cubs, winning 12 and losing 11, posting a 4.51 ERA and striking out 140 batters. Unfortunately for Kevin, he pitched for some pretty mediocre Cubs teams during this time period and wasn't much more than an average pitcher himself. The Cubs did win the Wildcard in his final season as a Cub, but Kevin only pitched in 3 games that year, amassing a 16.20 ERA before succumbing to arm injuries.

Kevin was a nice guy and he was always one of my favorites to watch, but truthfully, he was on the team in an era where the Cubs management just didn't give a fuck about winning. Ironically, this was the period where I started to really develop an interest in the Cubs. My parents were Cub fans and I'd watched sporadically on and off through the years. Kevin's tenure as a Cub spans my college years and that's when I really became a die hard fan. During those four years, Mark Grace was my favorite player, the mainstay of the team throughout most of my life to that point. Kevin Foster was my favorite pitcher on the team until 1998, when the Cubs added a certain mustachioed, mulleted closer, and a young fresh-faced flamethrower from Texas reignited Cub fans' playoff dreams. I always felt bad for Kevin that his arm went out on him the one year the Cubs were any good while he was in Chicago. Sadly, he was a mostly undistinguished pitcher, save for being one of my favorite players during one of the Cubs' most ineffectual eras.

Kevin pitched in the majors once more in 2001 for the Texas Rangers. He only appeared in 9 games. Kevin Foster died of renal cancer on October 11th, 2008. He was working as a truck driver and engaged to be married. Sadly, he was only 39 years old.

What the Hell?: After being granted free agency by the Cubs in October of 1998, Foster signed with the Reds in November, his contract was voided in December. He was signed by the Brewers in February of 2000, released by the Brewers in March of 2000, signed by the Red Sox in April of 2000, granted free agency by the Red Sox in October 2000 without ever seeing the majors, signed by the Rangers in December of 2000, and was released by the Rangers in August of 2001. Jesus.

Did You Know?: After his major league career ended, Foster pitched for the St. Paul Saints in the independent Northern League in 2003 and 2004. He pitched in the 2003 Northern League All-Star Game, finishing 2003 with an ERA of 2.92 in 19 starts and a record of 12 and 4. The 2004 season, his last of professional baseball, was not as kind. His complete stats, major, minor, and independent can be found here.