Houston “Mickey” McKell

1985 Greater Flint
Afro-American Hall of Fame Inductee


Son: Houston McKell Jr.
Daughter: Sylvia Jean Carter

In the late 1920’s in Flint high school sports, there was a young gifted black athlete that thrived on pressure and challenge. In those days you only got one chance and you had to excel to the highest if you were going to win a position on the team, regardless of which sport it was.

This young gifted athlete was Houston McKell. He was a well coordinated young athlete, blessed with a talent few people possess. He was ambidextrous. He could throw a ball with either hand and had great velocity and accuracy. McKell played football at Central High School in 1927, ’28, ’29, and graduated in 1930. He was an outstanding halfback at Central. In 1928, in one of his better games, Houston set a school record by throwing four touchdown passes against Pontiac, all to the same receiver. He was selected as a halfback on the 1928 All-State 3rd Team.

He also played on the baseball team as a catcher and was given the middle name, “Mickey”, from his baseball coach, Stan Broome, after the famous Mickey Cochran. He was ranked as one of the heaviest hitters in the Saginaw Valley in ’28, ’29, and his team won the Saginaw Valley Championship in 1928. In 1929 “Mickey” won the heavyweight wrestling championship. He was on the indoor track team and belonged to the Central Boxing Club.

During the summer he played baseball with the Buick 20 Team. In his last year of high school in the summer of 1930 he played with the famous Black Memphis Red Sox after he graduated. In the fall of 1930, Houston enrolled at Flint Junior College (Mott Community College), where he played football as a left halfback during the 1930-31 season. He was also a forward on the basketball team.

In 1932 the Cuban Stars, from Terrytown, N.Y.,came to Flint and he signed to play with them. He played with the Cuban Stars for two years. While stealing third base McKell injured his ankle and soon after this, his career ended. He returned to Flint after his injury but moved to Memphis in 1936 and now resides in Chicago.