Henry McHenry

From BR Bullpen

Henry McHenry (Cream, Chato)

  • Bats Right, Throws Right
  • Height 6' 0", Weight 200 lb.

Henry McHenry was a two-time All-Star in the Negro Leagues who also was a two-way threat in the Mexican League.

McHenry debuted with the Kansas City Monarchs in 1930; the 20-year-old showed he could hold his own at 11-9. He went 4-0 for the Monarchs in 1931 then spent several years with lesser teams. He was 1-0 for the New York Black Yankees in 1937 and 1-3 for Kansas City in 1937. In the Cuban Winter League, McHenry went 2-1 for Marianao in 1937-1938; it was his second stop on the island, having gone 1-1 in 1930.

Henry then moved to the Philadelphia Stars. He went 8-1 with a 2.33 RA in 1938. He was second in the Negro National League in RA, behind only Ray Brown. The right-hander also ranked fifth in wins behind Brown, Terris McDuffie, Schoolboy Johnny Taylor and Bill Byrd. In 1939, he was 10-5, third in victories behind Leon Day and Byrd. He had a 10-14 record in the Puerto Rican League in 1939.

In 1940, McHenry had a 16-11 record for Philadelphia and also hit .350. He was second in the NNL in wins behind Brown. He got the call to start for the East in the 1940 East-West Game. After allowing a Henry Milton single in the first, he tossed three perfect innings before giving way to Poppa Ruiz. He also went to the plate once and drew a walk from Gene Bremmer. The East won, 11-0, and McHenry got the win. He appeared in Mexico for the first time that summer, going 11 for 27 with 5 doubles, a homer and two walks for the Monterrey Industrials. He was just 2-5 with a 6.91 ERA on the mound for them, with 89 hits allowed in 56 innings.

McHenry split 1941 between Monterrey (2 for 20, two walks; 2-3, 6.38) and Philadelphia (5-7). He appeared in the 1941 East-West Game, walking in his lone appearance. Relieving Dave Barnhill in the 6th with a 8-1 lead, he tossed two shutout innings, giving up two hits. The East would win, 8-3. The veteran would spend the next four seasons in Mexico.

In 1942, "Chato" (as he was called south of the border) hit .354/.409/.630 with 16 homers and 61 RBI in 257 at-bats, playing more in the outfield than as a pitcher (3-3, 4.48) for the Mexico City Red Devils. He was 7th in average, ahead of former major leaguer Chile Gomez and Hall of Famers Ray Dandridge and Martin Dihigo among others. He was also third in homers, trailing only slugger Monte Irvin (by four) and Ramón Bragaña.

McHenry struggled offensively in '43 with the Red Devils and Tampico Lightermen (.206/.251/.304) but had his best year pitching in Mexico at 17-10, 3.22. He was 7th in ERA and third in wins behind Daniel Ríos and Manuel Fortes. He als split 1944, between Tampico and the Veracruz Eagle, going 16-12 with a 4.03 ERA despite 136 walks in 221 1/3 innings. He hit .228/.303/.389. He tied Theolic Smith for second in wins, miles behind Bragaña's 30. With Marianao in 1944-1945, the right-hander went 5-5 with a 3.61 ERA.

For the 1945 Lightermen, McHenry hit .244/.279/.350 and had a 12-12, 5.44 record. He split 1946 between the San Luis Potosi Cactus Pear Growers (1 for 5, a walk, no pitching appearances) and the Philadelphia Stars (6-3). In 1947, he had his first full season in the Negro Leagues in eight years. "Cream" (so nicknamed due to his light skin color) was 6-7. He remained with Philadelphia in 1948.

In 1949, McHenry batted .310/.363/.488 for the Jalisco Charros while posting a 6-12, 3.35 record. He ended his career at age 40 with the 1950 Indianapolis Clowns, Stars and Eagle (.271/.328/.475; 1-4, 9.35).

Overall, McHenry was 59-61 with a 4.36 ERA in 9 seasons in Mexico, with 549 walks and 437 strikeouts in 994 2/3 innings. At the plate, he hit .276/.332/.456 with 31 homers and 163 RBI in 889 at-bats. He threw a curveball, fastball, screwball and knuckleball. He was also noted as an eccentric character.

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