Hall of Fame Status: Elected 2006
By today’s standards he would have been selected in his first year of eligibility.
An incredibly talented receiver who remained cool under pressure, Biz Mackey’s defensive skills were unsurpassed in the history of black baseball. Possessing an arm like a cannon, he could snap a throw to second from a squatting position and get it there harder and quicker than most catchers can standing up. And his powerful arm was so accurate that the throws were almost invariably on target. His deadly throwing arm was not all that Biz used to an advantage. A thinking man, he was a studious observer of opposing batters and an expert handler of pitchers. Although slow on the bases, he was surprisingly agile behind the plate.
The switch-hitting Mackey was also a good hitter, with power from both sides of the plate, as evidenced by a .423 batting average, 20 home runs and a .698 slugging percentage for Hilldale in the Eastern Colored League’s inaugural season, 1923. His competitive spirit led the Hilldale club to three successive pennants, capped by a victory over the Kansas City Monarchs in the 1925 Black World Series. In that series, in addition to his superior defensive talent, he further displayed his batting skills, leading the team with a .375 average.
After leaving Hilldale, the big 200-pounder starred for the Philadelphia Stars and the Baltimore Elite Giants, splitting four All-Star appearances as representatives of these two teams during the 1930s.
Toward the end of his 30-year career, he became a player-manager, directing the Newark Eagles to the championship in 1946. Biz was still a formidable player even then, showing a .307 batting average in 1945 and appearing in the 1947 All-Star game.
The smooth operating receiver finished his career with a lifetime average of .335 in league play and an average of .358 against major league competition in exhibition games. Biz’s tremendous hitting, coupled with his sterling defensive skills, leave no doubt that he was one of the truly greats at his position.
c, 1b, of, p, manager
Indianapolis ABCs, New York Lincoln Giants
Hilldale Daisies, Philadelphia Royal Giants
Washington Elite Giants, Philadelphia Stars
Newark Dodgers, Newark Eagles
Johnny Bench, Mickey Cochrane