Biz Mackey

James Raleigh "Biz" Mackey (July 27, 1897 – September 22, 1965) was an American catcher and manager in Negro league baseball. He played for the Indianapolis ABC's (1920–22), New York Lincoln Giants (1920), Hilldale Daisies (1923–31), Philadelphia Royal Giants (1925), Philadelphia Stars (1933–35), Washington and Baltimore Elite Giants (1936–39), and Newark Dodgers/Eagles (1935, 1939–41, 1945–47, 1950).

Mackey came to be regarded as black baseball's premier catcher in the late 1920s and early 1930s. His superior defense and outstanding throwing arm were complemented by batting skill which placed him among the Negro leagues' all-time leaders in total bases, RBIs and slugging percentage, while hitting .322 for his career. Mackey was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Raleigh "Biz" Mackey
Biz Mackey
Born: July 27, 1897
Eagle Pass, Texas
Died: September 22, 1965 (aged 68)
Los Angeles, California
Batted: Switch Threw: Right
Negro leagues debut
1918, for the San Antonio Black Aces
Last appearance
1950, for the Newark Eagles
Career highlights and awards
Negro league baseball
  • Lifetime batting average: .335
Member of the National
Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Baseball Hall of Fame Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg Empty Star.svg
1936 Negro League All-Star Game
Mackey at the 1936 East–West All-Star Game

Baseball career

Mackey was born in Eagle Pass, Texas, to a sharecropping family that included two brothers.[2] He began playing baseball with his brothers on the Luling Oilers, a Prairie League team, in 1916 in his hometown of Luling. He joined the professional San Antonio Black Aces two years later. When the team folded in 1920, his contract was sold to the Indianapolis ABC's in time for the Negro National League's first season. After three years under manager C. I. Taylor, in which he hit .315, .317 and .344, he was picked up by Hilldale when the Eastern Colored League was organized in 1923.

In his first season with Hilldale, he batted .423, winning the ECL batting title and pacing the team to the pennant, and followed with eight consecutive seasons batting .308 or better. In 1924, he finished third in the batting race as Hilldale repeated as champions, but lost to the Kansas City Monarchs 5 games to 4 in the first Negro League World Series with Mackey playing third base. At first platooning behind the plate with the aging Louis Santop, while also sharing time at shortstop with Pop Lloyd and Jake Stephens, he took over the full-time catching job in 1925. In that year's Negro League World Series, Mackey helped Hilldale to the title over the Monarchs with a .360 average. He drove in the lead run in the 11th inning of the first game, which Hilldale won in 12 innings; after scoring the winning run in a 2–1 victory in Game 5, his three hits in the deciding Game 6 clinched the title.

His barnstorming tours included a highly successful trip to Japan in 1927, during which he became the first player to hit a home run out of Meiji Shrine Stadium, doing so in three straight games. He was particularly well received on the tour and made later trips to Japan in 1934 and 1935. In 1931, he won his second batting title with a .359 average, as Hilldale also finished with the best record among eastern teams.

In voting for the first East-West All-Star Game in 1933, he was selected at catcher over the young Josh Gibson, batting cleanup. He would play in three more All-Star Games by 1938. In 1934, he batted only .299, as the Philadelphia Stars' won the NNL second-half pennant, but had a good postseason, batting .368 and driving in the first run of a 2–0 victory in Game 7 to defeat the Chicago American Giants 4 games to 3.

By 1937, he was managing the Baltimore Elite Giants, where he began mentoring 15-year-old Roy Campanella in the fine points of catching. Campanella later recalled:

In my opinion, Biz Mackey was the master of defense of all catchers. When I was a kid in Philadelphia, I saw both Mackey and Mickey Cochrane in their primes, but for real catching skills, I don't think Cochrane was the master of defense that Mackey was. When I went under his direction in Baltimore, I was 15 years old. I gathered quite a bit from Mackey, watching how he did things, how he blocked low pitches, how he shifted his feet for an outside pitch, how he threw with a short, quick, accurate throw without drawing back. I got all this from Mackey at a young age.

Mackey joined the Newark Eagles in 1939, replacing Dick Lundy as manager a year later, and continued his work with young players such as Monte Irvin, Larry Doby and Don Newcombe. When Doby joined the Cleveland Indians of the American League in 1947, it was Mackey who recommended moving him from second base to center field.

Personality conflicts with Newark owner Effa Manley led to Mackey's departure from play after the 1941 season, but he returned to the field in 1945, and managed the team in 1946 as the Eagles won the Negro League World Series 4 games to 3, again over the Monarchs, who featured pitcher Satchel Paige. Even in his 40s, Mackey was still an effective player – he batted .307 in 1945, and appeared in the 1947 All-Star Game at age 50. When the Eagles moved to Houston in 1950, he retired from baseball following the season.

Life after baseball

In the 1950s, he moved to Los Angeles and began working as a forklift operator. In 1952, he was selected by a Pittsburgh Courier poll as the Negro leagues' greatest catcher, ahead of Josh Gibson. Mackey received more attention on May 7, 1959, when Campanella was honored at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum following his paralysis from a car accident. Mackey was introduced to the crowd of over 93,000 for an exhibition game between the Dodgers and the New York Yankees.

Mackey lived in Los Angeles until his death in 1965. He is buried in that city's Evergreen Cemetery.[3] Through the 1990s, reference sources widely reported his death as having occurred in 1959; this seems to have resulted from Campanella's recollection in John B. Holway's 1988 book Blackball Stars that Mackey "passed away right after" the Coliseum event, an apparent error that Campanella repeated in other interviews.

Mackey's grandson Riley Odoms played 12 seasons for the NFL's Denver Broncos.


  1. ^ "With Taber on Mound Chester Beats Hilldale" Chester Times, Chester, PA, Tuesday, July 29, 1924, Page 6, Column 1
  2. ^ Santoliquito, Joseph. "Great-nephew keeps legacy alive for "Biz" Mackey". Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  3. ^ Biz Mackey's Grave. Retrieved November 3, 2013.
  • Holway, John B. (1988). Blackball Stars: Negro League Pioneers. Westport, Connecticut: Meckler Books. ISBN 0-88736-094-7.
  • Riley, James A. (1994). The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 0-7867-0065-3.
  • Holway, John (2001). The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues: The Other Half of Baseball History. Fern Park, Florida: Hastings House. ISBN 0-8038-2007-0.
  • Martin, Douglas D. (1987). Biographical Dictionary of American Sports: Baseball. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. ISBN 0-313-23771-9.
  • Brockenbury, L.I. "Brock" (September 30, 1965). "Tying the Score". Los Angeles Sentinel, p. 28.

External links

1897 in baseball

The following are the baseball events of the year 1897 throughout the world.

1923 in sports

1923 in sports describes the year's events in world sport.

1924 Colored World Series

The 1924 Colored World Series was a best-of-nine match-up between the Negro National League champion Kansas City Monarchs and the Eastern Colored League champion Hilldale. In a ten-game series, the Monarchs narrowly defeated Hilldale 5 games to 4, with one tie game. It was the first World Series between the respective champions of the NNL and ECL. It was the second year of existence for the ECL, but no agreement could be reached in 1923 for a post-season series, owing primarily to unresolved disputes between the leagues. Five members of the Baseball Hall of Fame participated in the series: Biz Mackey, Judy Johnson, and Louis Santop played for Hilldale, while Bullet Rogan and José Méndez played for the Monarchs. In addition, Monarchs owner J. L. Wilkinson was also inducted into the Hall.

1925 Colored World Series

The 1925 Colored World Series was the second edition of the championship series in Negro league baseball. The series featured a rematch between the Hilldale Club of Darby, Pennsylvania, champion of the Eastern Colored League (ECL), and the Kansas City Monarchs, champion of the Negro National League (NNL) and winner of the previous year's match in the first Colored World Series. In 1925, Hilldale won the best-of-nine series, five games to one.On the eve of the series, the Monarchs' star pitcher, Bullet Rogan, who had pitched a shutout in the deciding Game 7 of the NNL championship series, was injured while playing with his child at home, when a needle ran into his leg, leaving him unable to play in the World Series. Kansas City's manager and occasional pitcher was future Hall of Famer, 38-year-old José Méndez. Hilldale featured three future Hall of Famers—catcher, Biz Mackey, third baseman, Judy Johnson, and 35-year-old backup catcher and pinch hitter, Louis Santop.Attendance for series was disappointing—down more than 50 percent in comparison with the previous year's series. The financial results were so disappointing that one Kansas City Monarchs player said they would have been paid better barnstorming than playing in the series.For both teams, the 1925 season would represent the end to a three-year run as league champions. (Both teams had won their league championships in 1923, when no world series was played.) Kansas City would eventually return to win additional championships, appearing in the 1942 and 1946 series and winning in 1942. For Hilldale, however, the 1925 championship would be its last, as the team folded in 1932.

1946 Negro World Series

In the 1946 Negro World Series, the Newark Eagles, champions of the Negro National League, beat the Kansas City Monarchs, champions of the Negro American League, four games to three.

2006 Baseball Hall of Fame balloting

Elections to the Baseball Hall of Fame for 2006 proceeded in keeping with rules enacted in 2001, augmented by a special election; the result was the largest class of inductees (18) in the Hall's history, including the first woman elected. The Baseball Writers' Association of America (BBWAA) held an election to select from among recent players. The Veterans Committee did not hold an election; the 2001 rules changes provided that elections for players retired over 20 years would be held every other year, with elections of non-players (managers, umpires and executives) held every fourth year. The Committee voted in 2005 on players who were active no later than 1983; there was no 2005 election for non-players. Elections in both categories were held in 2007.

On July 26, 2005, the Hall announced that its board of directors had approved a special election to be held in 2006, by the Committee on African-American Baseball, of Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues candidates.

Induction ceremonies in Cooperstown were held July 30 with Commissioner Bud Selig presiding.


Biz, BIZ or The Biz may refer to:

Biz, colloquial for business

Biz (detergent), a laundry detergent

Biz Stone (born 1974), co-founder of Twitter

Biz Mackey (1897-1965), American catcher and manager in Negro league baseball

.biz, a generic top-level domain name

BIZ (Berliner Illustrirte Zeitung), a German news magazine

BIZ (German: Bank für internationalen Zahlungsausgleich), the Bank for International Settlements

ISO 639 code for the Ngiri language, native to the Democratic Republic of the Congo

The Biz (album), 1995, by The Sea and Cake

The Biz (newspaper), a weekly newspaper published in New South Wales, Australia from 1917 to 1980

The Biz (TV series), a BBC children's drama series which originally aired from 1994 to 1996

The Biz (video game), a 1984 computer game about managing a rock band

California Winter League

California Winter League is a former baseball winter league. It was the first integrated league in the 20th century as players from Major League Baseball and Negro League Baseball played each other in training games. The league was in existence from the turn of the 20th century to 1947.

Eastern Colored League

The Mutual Association of Eastern Colored Clubs, more commonly known as the Eastern Colored League (ECL), was one of the several Negro leagues, which operated during the time organized baseball was segregated.

East–West All-Star Game

The East–West All-Star Game was an annual all-star game for Negro league baseball players. The game was the brainchild of Gus Greenlee, owner of the Pittsburgh Crawfords. In 1933 he decided to match the Major League Baseball All-Star Game with Negro league players. Newspaper balloting was set up to allow the fans to choose the starting lineups for that first game, a tradition that continued through the series' end in 1962. Unlike the white All-Star game which is played near the middle of the season, the Negro All-Star game was held toward the end of the season.

Because league structures were shaky during the Great Depression and also because certain teams (notably the Kansas City Monarchs and the Homestead Grays) sometimes played entirely independent of the leagues, votes were not counted by league, but by geographical location. Hence, the games were known as the East-West All-Star Games. Votes were tallied by two of the major African-American weekly newspapers of the day, the Chicago Defender and the Pittsburgh Courier.

Hilldale Club

The Hilldale Athletic Club (informally known as Darby Daisies) were an African American professional baseball team based in Darby, Pennsylvania, west of Philadelphia.

Established as a boys team in 1910, the Hilldales were developed by their early manager, then owner Ed Bolden to be one of the powerhouse Negro league baseball teams. They won the first three Eastern Colored League pennants beginning in 1923 and in 1925 won the second Colored World Series. Hall of Fame player Judy Johnson was a Hilldale regular for most its professional era with twelve seasons in fifteen years 1918–1932.

Pitcher Phil Cockrell played for Hilldale throughout those years.

Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, Louis Santop, Chaney White, and Jesse "Nip" Winters were also important Hilldale players in the 1920s.

Hilldale Park

Hilldale Park was a ballpark in Darby, Pennsylvania at the northeast corner of Chester and Cedar Avenues. It was the home field of the Hilldale Club professional baseball team which played in the Negro Leagues between 1910 and 1932. The ballpark opened in 1914. It is said to have had a well-manicured field. A large tree stood in center-field, the branches of which overlooked the field and were considered in play.Hilldale's average attendance at Hilldale Park was 1,844 per-game in 1926 and 1,371 in 1929.The ballpark site now contains retail stores and parking lots.

Indianapolis ABCs

The Indianapolis ABCs were a Negro league baseball team that played both as an independent club and as a charter member of the first Negro National League (NNL). They claimed the western championship of black baseball in 1915 and 1916, and finished second in the 1922 NNL. Among their best players were Baseball Hall of Fame members Oscar Charleston, Biz Mackey, and Ben Taylor.

Kenichi Zenimura

Kenichi Zenimura (January 25, 1900 – November 13, 1968) was a Japanese baseball player and manager, known as "The Dean of the Diamond." After his death he has come to be recognized as "The Father of Japanese American Baseball".Zenimura was born January 25, 1900 in Hiroshima, Japan and his family moved to Honolulu, Hawaii shortly afterwards. He first played baseball at Mid-Pacific Institute formerly the Mills Institute for Boys. In 1920 he moved to Fresno, where he played baseball on Japanese-American and previously all-white teams.Many baseball historians believe he earned his titles for his remarkable career as a player (he excelled at all nine positions), manager (of Japanese-American league teams and European American teams in the Twilight leagues for older players), and international ambassador of the game (he led tours to Japan in 1924, 1927 and 1937).

In addition to organizing barnstorming tours to Japan, Zenimura was instrumental in the negotiations that led to Babe Ruth's visit to Japan in 1934. Several years earlier, in 1927, Zenimura also helped arrange a barnstorming tour to Japan for the Negro-league All-Star Philadelphia Royal Giants, led by Hall of Famers Biz Mackey and Andy Cooper.

During World War II, Zenimura and 120,000 other Japanese-Americans were sent to internment camps across the southwest United States, as directed by Executive Order 9066, signed by President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, on February 19, 1942.Zenimura and his family were interned in Arizona on the Gila River Indian Reservation at the Gila River War Relocation Center. Almost immediately upon arrival at Gila River, Zenimura built a baseball field and established a 32-team league. Baseball at Gila River gave Japanese-Americans a sense of pride, hope and normalcy, making life bearable during their unjust incarceration. A book called Barbed Wire Base ball told many facts of him making the baseball field.

With the closing of Butte Camp at Gila River, Zenimura field officially closed on November 10, 1945.

Zenimura returned to Fresno, California, and continued to play competitive ball until the age of 55. In the early-to-mid-1950s, Zenimura was instrumental in negotiating the professional baseball contracts of several Japanese-American players in the Central League and Pacific League including contracts for Satoshi "Fibber" Hirayama, and his sons Kenso (Howard) and Kenshi (Harvey) Zenimura, all of whom later played for the Hiroshima Carp.

Kenichi Zenimura continued to manage until his death on November 13, 1968, in Fresno, California.

List of Negro league baseball players

This list comprises players who have appeared in Negro league baseball.

Louis Santop

Louis Santop Loftin (January 17, 1890 – January 22, 1942) was an African-American baseball catcher in the Negro leagues. He became "one of the earliest superstars" and "black baseball's first legitimate home-run slugger" (Riley), and was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006.

Newark Eagles

The Newark Eagles were a professional Negro league baseball team which played in the Negro National League from 1936 to 1948. They were owned by Abe and Effa Manley.

Philadelphia Stars (baseball)

The Philadelphia Stars were a Negro league baseball team from Philadelphia. The Stars were founded in 1933 when Ed Bolden returned to professional black baseball after being idle since early 1930. The Stars were an independent ball club in 1933, a member of the Negro National League from 1934 until the League's collapse following the 1948 season, and affiliated with the Negro American League from 1949 to 1952.

In 1934, led by 20-year-old left-hander Slim Jones, the Stars defeated the Chicago American Giants in a controversial playoff series, four games to three, for the Negro National League pennant. At their high point in mid-1930s, the team starred such greats as Biz Mackey, Jud Wilson, and Dick Lundy. Following his release by Cleveland, Satchel Paige signed with the Stars in July 1950, before returning to the Majors with Bill Veeck and the St. Louis Browns.

The club disbanded after the 1952 season.

Riley Odoms

Riley Mackey Odoms (born March 1, 1950) is a former American football tight end. He played college football at the University of Houston. In 1971, he had 45 catches for 730 yards and 8 TD after playing sparingly the two seasons prior.Played his entire professional career with the Denver Broncos of the National Football League. Odoms was drafted fifth overall in the 1972 NFL Draft, which made him the second highest tight end ever taken in the NFL Draft.

Odoms was a four-time Pro Bowl selection and was a two-time All-Pro. He finished his career with 396 receptions for 5,755 yards and 41 touchdowns.

He is the grandson of Baseball Hall of Famer, Biz Mackey.

Veterans Committee
Committee on
African-American Baseball
J. G. Taylor Spink Award
Ford C. Frick Award
First basemen
Second basemen
Third basemen
Designated hitters
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