“The best all-around catcher in black baseball history”—Cumberland Posey, Owner of the Homestead Grays
National Baseball Hall of Fame catcher James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey’s professional career spanned nearly three decades in the Negro Leagues and elsewhere. He distinguished himself as a defensive catcher who also had an impressive batting average and later worked as a manager of the Newark Eagles and the Baltimore Elite Giants.
Using archival materials and interviews with former Negro League players, baseball historian Rich Westcott chronicles the catcher’s life and remarkable career in Biz Mackey, a Giant behind the Plate as well as providing an in-depth look at Philadelphia Negro League history. Westcott traces Mackey’s childhood in Texas as the son of sharecroppers to his success on the baseball diamond where he displayed extraordinary defensive skills and an exceptional ability to hit and to handle pitchers. Mackey spent one third of his career playing in Philadelphia, winning championships with the Hilldale Daisies and the Philadelphia Stars. Mackey also mentored famed catcher Roy Campanella and had an unlikely role in the story of baseball’s development in Japan.
A celebrated ballplayer before African Americans were permitted to join Major League Baseball, Biz Mackey ranks as one of the top catchers ever to play the game. With Biz Mackey, he finally gets the biography he deserves.