RAY MACKEY HAS QUITE A STORY TO TELL!
Houstonian Ray Mackey is determined to keep his great uncle’s memory alive. That’s because his great uncle Biz Mackey is a legend. Here’s a recent article written by ESPN.com. The full article can be read at the link provided below. Way to go Ray. By the way, like everyone I know except myself – Ray is also in Las Vegas enjoying the festivities of the NBA All Star game!
Ray Mackey had heard about his Uncle Raleigh, or “Biz,” as he was known by relatives and friends who played with him in the Negro Leagues. But Mackey didn’t fully understand the significance of Biz Mackey until he picked up the phone one day last April.
Jeff Idelson of the National Baseball Hall of Fame called to tell Ray Mackey his great-uncle, James Raleigh “Biz” Mackey, who died in 1965 at age 68, would be part of the largest group of inductees in Hall of Fame history as a member of the 2006 class.
“I thanked God for allowing it to happen, and for such a great honor being bestowed on my family,” Ray Mackey said. “It was a little emotional, because it brought back my dad. I could see my dad and grandfather, and my great-uncles, Raleigh and Ernest, all on this little farm, all playing baseball. I can picture them dreaming to want to get off that little farm. All those dreams and struggles and sacrifices became a reality at that very moment.”
Three months later in Cooperstown, N.Y., Ray Mackey and his sons Kyle and Konner shook hands and had breakfast with Hall of Famers Joe Morgan, Johnny Bench, Yogi Berra, Willie Mays, Monte Irvin and legendary Negro Leaguer Buck O’Neil.
During Hall of Fame weekend, Irvin and O’Neil told Mackey about his great-uncle Raleigh, one of the great players of the 1920s through the ’40s. They shared emotions talking about the old times and the struggles Negro League players endured. Biz Mackey mentored Irvin, along with greats like Roy Campanella, Larry Doby and Don Newcombe. Baseball historians view him as one of the greatest catchers in Negro League history.
Ray Mackey’s grandfather, Ray Sr., was Biz’s younger brother. The Mackeys were sharecroppers in Luling, Texas. They picked cotton, hauled hay and shucked corn. After work, they played baseball until dark. They used 2-by-4s as bats, and anything round they could find as a ball.