PROFILE: Jacob Kirby was known as “Blackie,”. He was one of the first Mutuel Line announcers in greyhound racing. Kirby’s work dates back to the 1920’s. Blackie Kirby was 75 in 1982 when he was added to the PIONEER section of the Hall of Fame. Kirby was residing in St. Petersburg, FL and active in the mutual departments at St. Petersburg, Tampa and Sarasota.

HISTORY: Blackie started in racing with OP Smith at the old Hialeah race track in 1925. With his deep, distinct voice and warm outgoing personality, Blackie was a natural for the unique job of Mutuel Line announcer or barker-a job long since obsolete-but integral in the early days of the sport. It was Kirby’s job to equalize the betting lines so no one would get shut out at the windows as well as to educate the public about wagering. He was employed at Biscayne in 1926, also as Mutuel Line Barker, and filing in at a variety of positions where he was needed. Kirby was involved in the East St. Louis track in the 1920’s before going to work at Hollywood its first season. Kirby worked at Flagler before spending 30 years in the mutual departments at Taunton and Raynham.

ACCOMPLISHMENTS: Blackie Kirby, along with other barkers of the 1920’s played a key role in educating the public about pari-mutuel wagering. Blackie may well have been the first greyhound track mutual announcer in the country to educate the public on the Quinela wagering system.