The Mighty Mackie

In high school, Mackie held his own with future major league players like Rob Dibble and Mike Raczka. In college, he held his own when his team faced future professionals like Rafael Palmiero and Will Clark. In his first year, Mackie was one of four freshman to figure prominently on a team that returned to the College World Series. In his senior season, he captained another team into the college playoffs.

He lettered four times. Twice, he batted over .300 with 152 hits and 84 RBI over four seasons. He was named to the conference all-tournament team as a senior and went on to earn NCAA all-tournament honors in the East in 1985.

“Every year, ESPN would open the next World Series coverage by showing catches that he made the year before,” said Fontana. “That’s the kind of outfielder that he was.”

Mackie said that it’s the friendships with teammates that he remembers the most, not the catches, the hits, or even the trips to the postseason tournament. That’s why he wasn’t fazed when nobody drafted him onto a major league roster after graduation. Mackie had already proved everything that he wanted to prove.

“I want to be remembered as somebody that always tried his best and hustled,” he said. “Those are some of the basic lessons that my dad taught me. Whether I was having a good game or a bad game, I want to be remembered as somebody that stayed focused and did the best that I could until the game was over. If we won, great. If we lost, great. There was always tomorrow.”

Mackie might have had no trouble walking away from the game, but locals can’t seem to forget their prized outfielder. In 1989, Mackie was inducted into the Southington High School Baseball Hall of Fame. This spring, officials from the Southington Sports Hall of Fame announced that Mackie would be inducted into the local sports hall of fame, too.

It’s no shock to fans, but Mackie still seems to get surprised by that attention.

“It’s a great honor. I look at these things as a nice way to be remembered,” he said. “The things that meant the most to me was my dad’s role and the friendships I made. In a way, it was my dad that played a very prominent role in my development as a player and a person. It gives me pride to be able to share stuff like this with him.”

On Thursday, Nov. 14, Mackie will be honored in an induction ceremony at the Aqua Turf in Plantsville. To reserve tickets, contact Jim Verderame at (860) 628-7335.

To comment on this story or to contact sports writer John Goralski, email him at jgoralski@southingtonobserver.com.

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