Leaguer of the Month
Raleigh "Biz" Mackey
Born: July 27, 1897 in Eagle Pass, TX
Died: 1959 in Los Angeles, CA
Ht:6'1", Wt: 220
Batted both and threw right
Teams:San Antonio Black Aces, Indianapolis ABCs, New York
Lincolns, Hilldale Daisies, Philadelphia Royal Giants, Washington
Elite Giants, Baltimore Elite Giants, Philadelphia Stars, Newark
Dodgers, Newark Eagles
Recently elected for induction in to the National
Baseball Hall of Fame, most Negro League historians have known
for years that Biz Mackey rightfully belonged. One of the top
defensive catchers in Negro League history and a slugging switch-hitter,
Mackey was also the man most responsible for making Roy Campanella
into a Hall of Fame catcher, too.
Born in Eagle Pass, Texas, Mackey actually grew
up in the town of Luling, where he started playing semipro ball
with his brothers. His first professional team was the San Antonio
Black Aces in 1918, and by 1920 he was in the "Show" with the
brand new Negro National League's Indianapolis ABCs who were
managed by the famous C.I. Taylor. Mackey stayed with the ABCs
.300 with a high slugging average.
In 1923, the Eastern Colored League was formed, and many teams
"raided" the National League's stars; one of whom was Mackey
who was convinced to sign with the Hilldale Daisies. Mackey played
shortstop and catcher for Hilldale, as the Daisies had famous
catcher Louis Santop behind the plate much of the time.
Mackey was a key member of the 1925 Hilldale club
that beat the Kansas City Monarchs in second ever Negro League
World Series. He batted .375 while playing a solid third base.
was an outstanding catcher for many reasons. Although he had
little formal schooling, he was very intelligent,
called a great game, was a huge target for pitchers to throw
to, and threw out base runners like Pudge Rodriguez would 70
In the 1930s, Mackey joined the Philadelphia Stars
and in 1933, at age 36, he was voted to start the very
first Negro League All-Star game out-balloting Josh
defense. Mackey would be selected for four of the first six All-Star
(East-West) games, despite the fact that he was a decade older
than many of the other top catchers in the league.
In five total East-West Games, the last coming
in 1947 when Mackey was 49 (more of an honorary appearance),
Mackey batted .214 and represented four different teams.
the late 1930s, while with the Baltimore Elite Giants, Mackey
took teenager Roy Campanella under his wing and taught him
how to catch, much like Bill Dickey had done with Yogi Berra.
Negro Leaguers believed that Campanella learned so much from
Mackey that he even started to walk like him. Not long after
Campanella was paralyzed in an automobile accident in 1959,
the Dodgers gave him a special day at the Los Angeles Coliseum.
Campanella took the occasion to thank Mackey in person (Mackey
was retired and living in L.A.) for all he had done for him.
1946, player-manager Mackey led the Newark Eagles in to the
Negro League World Series championship over the Kansas City
Monarchs. Mackey didn't play regularly, but was a dangerous
Lifetime statistics are sketchy, but offensively
Mackey was a .300+ hitter, and probably hit more than 300
homers against all competition in his career. Maybe not quite
a Mickey Mantle at the plate, Mackey was certainly the best
switch-hitting catcher in Negro League history.
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