Category Archives: Biz Mackey

Happy Birthday “Biz” Mackey

 

 

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The following is an excerpt from my book Last Train in Cooperstown: The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, which contains a profile of the Hall of Fame catcher James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey, born 7/27/1897:

Eagle Pass, Texas is a small town south of Del Rio near the

Mexican border. Here on July 27, 1897 James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey

opened his eyes the first time. This makes him another member of

the Texas fraternity of Negro League ball players from the Lone Star

state; that includes Andy Cooper, Willie Wells, Rube Foster, Louis

Santop, and others. Before becoming a teenager he moved with his

family to Luling which is east of San Antonio on the road to

Houston. The Mackeys were sharecroppers. Biz, along with his

brothers, worked on the farm most of the day and then played

baseball until dark. They used boards as bats and anything they

could find as a ball. By 1916 the black amateur baseball team in

Luling, the Oilers, had three Mackey brothers on its roster; Ray,

Ernest, and Biz.

 

The San Antonio Aces, a black minor league team, signed Biz in

  1. Charlie Bellinger, the Aces’ owner, had a friendship with

Indianapolis ABCs’ manager CI Taylor. Bellinger always looked for

good ball players in Texas that would help Taylor’s team. After the

Aces folded in 1919, he sold Mackey and five other players to the

ABCs.

 

Biz arrived in Indianapolis at the perfect time. The first official

African-American baseball league, the Negro National League

(NNL), formed in 1920 with the ABCs one of the charter teams.

The twenty‐three year old Texan shared the dugout his first year

with Hall of Famers Oscar Charleston and Ben Taylor, along with

“Cannonball” Dick Reading. Used as a utility infielder and outfielder,

Mackey also began to learn the craft of playing the game under the

master teacher, CI Taylor. With his manager’s help, Biz became a

switch hitter and developed into one of the team’s top run

producers. Some records show he hit over .300 each of his three

years in Indianapolis, helping the team finish second in 1921.

CI Taylor died before that year ended, replaced by his brother

Ben as the ABCs’ manager. However, with his mentor CI gone,

Mackey’s ties to the team were loosened. The owners of the newly

formed Eastern Colored League (ECL) in 1923 looked to lure away

NNL players. Accepting an offer from Ed Bolden, owner of the

Hilldale Club, Biz headed east without hesitation.”

Mackey’s Hall of Fame induction solidified him with the white contemporaries his era, Gabby Hartnett, Mickey Cochrane, and Bill Dickey, as one of the best catchers in baseball history.

Biz picture

To read more about “Biz” Mackey and the Negro League baseball era Last Train to Cooperstown  

The 1924 Negro League World Series

Mendez Jose Mendez          santopLouis Santop

If the Kansas City Royals defeat the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series which begins this week, it will be the city’s ninth professional baseball World Series championship since 1900. The Royals won their first in 1985.  The Kansas City Blues, a minor league franchise that was in the city from 1888 – 1954 won three Double-A and two Triple-A Junior World Series championships.

The Kansas City Monarchs, one of the most well-known Negro League baseball franchises, must also be included in the World Series championship baseball history of the city. The Monarchs won the Negro League World Series in 1924 and 1942.

Due to racial discrimination that kept them out of Major League baseball for nearly the first half of the Twentieth Century, African Americans formed their own professional baseball leagues. The Negro National League (NNL) was formed in 1920, followed by the Eastern Colored League (ECL) in 1923. The first Negro League World Series was held in 1924 between the Kansas City Monarchs (NNL) and the Hilldale Club of Darby, Pennsylvania (ECL). It was a best five out of nine Series and it featured five players now with plaques in the National Baseball Hall of Fame: Jose Mendez and Wilber “Bullet” Rogan for the Monarchs; Judy Johnson, Biz Mackey, and Louis Santop for Hilldale.

In Game 7 with the Series tied three games apiece, Hilldale had a 3 -2 lead in the bottom of the ninth inning. The following excerpt from my book, Last Train to Cooperstown, tells what then happened:

The Monarchs rallied to have the bases loaded, but with two outs. Hilldale was one out from going ahead in the Series four games to threeThe Monarchs batter, Frank Duncan, hit a foul fly ball behind home plate within the reach of Santop. All the normally sure handed backstop had to do was catch it and Hilldale would win.  He dropped the ball!  Given another swing, Duncan hit a ground ball that got through third baseman Biz Mackey driving in two runs to give Kansas City a 4 – 3 victory”.

Although Hilldale rebounded to win Game Eight, the Monarchs got a stellar pitching performance in Game Nine from their aging manager Jose Mendez to win 2 – 0.  They were the first Negro League World Series Champions.  Hilldale revenged their lost the next year defeating Kansas City in the 1925 Series five games to one.

To learn more about the Negro League baseball careers of Jose Mendez, Louis Santop, and Biz Mackey; read Last Train to Cooperstown:  The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era”.   For more information, go to www.klmitchell.com  or http://booklaunch.io/kevinlmitchell/last-train-to-cooperstown.

 

 

More Than a Great Catcher – “Biz” Mackey

Biz picture

Yesterday was the birth date of Negro League baseball player James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey; born on July 27, 897 in Eagle Pass, Texas.The following is an excerpt from my book, Last Train in Cooperstown: The 2006 Baseball Hall of Fame Inductees from the Negro League Baseball Era, which contains a profile of the Hall of Fame catcher;

“Eagle Pass, Texas is a small town south of Del Rio near the

Mexican border.  Here on July 27, 1897 James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey

opened his eyes the first time. This makes him another member of

the Texas fraternity of Negro League ballplayers from the Lone Star

state; that includes Andy Cooper, Willie Wells, Rube Foster, Louis

Santop, and others. Before becoming a teenager he moved with his

family to Luling which is east of San Antonio on the road to

Houston. The Mackeys were sharecroppers. Biz, along with his

brothers, worked on the farm most of the day and then played

baseball until dark. They used boards as bats and anything they

could find as a ball.. By 1916 the black amateur baseball team in

Luling, the Oilers, had three Mackey brothers on its roster; Ray,

Ernest, and Biz.”

To read more about “Biz” Mackey one of the best catchers in baseball history, Last Train to Cooperstown is available via http://www.blackrosewriting.com/sports/last-train-to-cooperstown or Amazon.com, Barnes&Noble.com, and all bookstores.

There were two other hall of Fame players along with Mackey on the 1921 Indianapolis ABCs? Name them.

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