The Definitive Philadelphia Negro Baseball All-Time Roster

Biz Mackey named to our All-Time Philadelphia Negro All-Stars Team
Philadelphia has a strong connection to the historical relevance and importance of Negro league baseball, spanning from the late 19th century through the mid-1940's when Jackie Robinson broke baseball's color barrier.

Similar to our All-Time Philadelphia Athletics team, we aim to highlight forgotten Negro League talent with a strong connection to Philadelphia. Yes, Hall of Famers such as Satchel Paige and Cool Papa Bell spent time in Philly, but this exercise is about remembering those that spent the bulk of their career connected with Philadelphia.

For purposes of this All-Time team, offensive players must have played in a minimum of 120 games and pitchers must have pitched in at least 80 games. Those figures may seem arbitrary, but year-to-year Negro League data, despite all of the advances from scholars and researchers, remains sketchy at best.

The best clearinghouse of Negro League statistics is Seamheads.com. Their dataset played a significant role in building this roster of Philadelphia greats. Over the coming weeks, we'll publish articles breaking down each position and explore how we determined who made the cut. Those links, once live, will reside here.

Manager: Sol White
White is one the pioneers of black baseball and deserving of more recognition, particularly in Philadelphia. His partnering with white sportswriter Harry Schlichter led to the formation of the Philadelphia Giants in 1902. Within the club's first six years of existence White led the Giants to four colored championships. To this day his clubs are regarded as some of the best in Negro baseball history.

White also authored the first book on African-American baseball, his “History of Colored Baseball,” published in 1907.

Best Hitter: Biz Mackey
Mackey is widely recognized the second best catcher in Negro baseball history behind Josh Gibson. Through 10 seasons in Philadelphia, seven with Hilldale and three with the Stars, he hit a combined .341 over 498 documented games. He led the Eastern Colored League in hitting in 1923 and carried Hilldale to three pennants and a Negro World Series crown in 1925. Later in his career, he mentored Philly born backstop Roy Campanella - a Hall of Famer and a key contributor to the Brooklyn Dodgers dynasty of the mid-1950s.

“In my opinion, Biz Mackey was the master of defense of all catchers,” Campanella once said. “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.”

PHILADELPHIA ALL-TIME NEGRO LEAGUE ROSTER
VS RHP VS LHP
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
LF R R Clint Thomas LF R R Clint Thomas
CF R R George Johnson CF R R George Johnson
1B L R Jud Wilson 1B L R Jud Wilson
C S R Biz Mackey C S R Biz Mackey
3B R R Judy Johnson 3B R R Judy Johnson
RF L L Danny McClellan RF L L Danny McClellan
2B R R Frank Warfield 2B R R Frank Warfield
SS R R Jake Stephens SS R R Jake Stephens
P L L Nip Winters P L L Nip Winters
Along with Mackey, Philadelphia was home to several other prominent Negro League hitters, including Jud Wilson and Judy Johnson.

The bench is also brimming with talent, highlighted by the first true superstar of Negro baseball in catcher Louis Santop who spent parts of 10 seasons with clubs affiliated with Philadelphia, including the pennant winning Hilldale clubs of the mid-1920s.

PHILA. NEGRO STARS
BENCH
Pos B T Name
C L R Louis Santop
1B S R Tank Carr
2B S R Pat Patterson
OF L R Otto Briggs
OF R L Chaney White
OF R R Roy Parnell
OF L L Gene Benson
Best Pitcher: Nip Winters
Winters is unanimously hailed as the best hurler to have pitched in the Eastern Colored League. A tall and lanky left-hander, he joined Hilldale in 1922 and spent parts of nine seasons in Philadelphia. With the Daisies he went an astounding 72-22 over 111 appearances, pitching to an ERA of 2.80. Joined by Mackey, he was part of one of the greatest and most overlooked batteries in Negro baseball history. 

Unfortunately, like so many other Negro league stars, alcohol was an issue for Winters and his erratic behavior resulted in a trade to the New York Lincoln Giants in April of 1928.

Slim Jones was another name under heavy consideration, but his career was tragically cut short due to alcohol. According to published accounts, he pitched in 67 games and pieced together an ERA of 2.81. He played a leading role in helping the Philadelphia Stars to the 1934 Negro baseball championship, finishing 20-4 with a 1.24 ERA.

PHILADELPHIA ALL-TIME NEGRO STARS
STARTERS BULLPEN
Pos B T Name Pos B T Name
SP L L Nip Winters P R R Red Ryan
SP L L Slim Jones P L L Barney Brown
SP L R Webster McDonald P L L Rocky Ellis
SP R R Phil Cockrell P R R Henry McHenry
        P L L Danny McClellan

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