Another story about Brien TaylorSeptember 25, 2008 at 2:03 am | Posted in Baseball, My Cards | 9 Comments
Mario’s post about Brien Taylor tonight at Wax Heaven got me thinking about an encounter that I had with Brien Taylor 15 years ago…
As my readers know by now, I grew up as a Yankees fan. I was a huge fan during the early 1990s when the Yankees were among the worst teams in baseball. In fact, they finished with the worst record in all of baseball in 1990, which meant that they had the #1 overall pick in the 1991 draft. With that pick, they took a high school left-handed pitching phenom named Brien Taylor.
To say that the Yankees starting pitching was horrible in the early 1990s would be a vast understatement. In 1991 alone, they had starting pitchers with these ERAs:
- Jeff Johnson – 5.95 ERA in 23 starts
- Wade Taylor – 6.27 ERA in 22 starts
- Tim Leary – 6.49 ERA in 18 starts
- Dave Eiland – 5.33 ERA in 13 starts
- Chuck Cary – 5.91 ERA in 9 starts
So you can understand how excited Yankees fans were to have Brien Taylor in the organization, who was rated the #1 prospect in all of baseball by Baseball America in 1992. That year, he pitched for Single-A Fort Lauderdale and had a 2.57 ERA and 1.16 WHIP with 187 strikeouts in 161 1/3 innings.
Taylor was promoted to Double-A Albany-Colonie for the 1993 season. Being a knowledgeable baseball fan at the age of 13 that summer, I knew exactly when the Albany team would be visiting Binghamton, New York, which was within a short driving distance from where my dad lived at the time. I figured out when Brien Taylor would be pitching, and my dad took me to the game.
I was extremely excited to see the guy who I was sure would soon be the ace of the Yankees starting rotation in person! I remember that Taylor didn’t pitch very well against the Binghamton Mets that day. But my day wouldn’t be spoiled because I was planning to get his autograph outside the visitors locker room after the game. I had my Brien Taylor draft pick cards with me, along with some minor league cards of various other players on Albany’s roster.
As the players came out of the locker room, they were all very friendly. They were happy to see the group of about 10 Yankees fans that were gathered to try to get autographs. I got a bunch of autographs that day, including an obscure catcher that had recently been called up from Single-A. I think he was surprised that I even had a baseball card of him.
Brien Taylor was one of the last players to come out of the locker room. His attitude was totally different from the rest of his teammates. I remember that he was wearing sunglasses, and he didn’t say a word to me or the other fans as he briskly jogged towards the team bus. I decided to run after him. “Mr. Taylor, I’m a huge Yankees fan – could I please have your autograph”, I yelled out to him. But it didn’t matter. The 21-year old hot shot was determined to ignore all of the fans that day.
I was very disappointed, and I when I got home I put all of the cards that I did get autographed into pages in a binder and didn’t think about them much after that day. After the 1993 season, Brien Taylor tore his labrum in a fight in his hometown, and his career was effectively over. It couldn’t have happened to a bigger asshole…
Earlier this year, I was going through binders of old baseball cards in my attic, and I came across the binder in which I placed the cards that I had autographed at the game in Binghamton. Most of the players whose autographs I received never made it to the major leagues. But I did come across one guy that you may have heard of, that obscure catcher that nobody really cared about in 1993:
I think his career worked out a little bit better than Brien Taylor’s did…