Monday, August 29, 2016

Whatever happened to Danny Taylor?

At this time of year with the Little League World Series taking place,I get questions about the game.
After all,I played for five years,sat in the announcers booth for five more and coached for another ten,so some people (especially those that were familiar with a particular) want to ask questions on occasions.

The player that I get asked most about is the late Nick Adenhart because I was an assistant coach on an All-Star team of Nick's and coached against him (we beat him three of four times with the fourth ending in a tie,Little League can be goofy) and people want to know about my thoughts on Nick as a youth player.

However,the question that I get asked most is a variation on this "Wasn't Nick the best player that you ever saw in your time" and people are surprised to hear me answer "No".
Nick certainly was the best pitcher that I ever coached against,but he wasn't the best that I ever saw.

The most dominant player that I ever saw was a guy named Danny Taylor,who dominated the little league in town and then dominated the Pony League even further.
In fact,when I coached later,I asked a long time local baseball icon a similar question and without a skip of the needle-his answer was Danny Taylor.
That showed me that my memory was not embellished by age.
Danny Taylor was three years older than me and I only faced him one time,when someone had the brilliant idea to have him pitch to the kids trying out for the league.
No one touched him,but that might have been the point-If a 9 year old could even foul one off Taylor,he might be a prospect!
I don't remember if I fouled one off or not,but I'm doubtful that happened.

I remember reasonably well a game with Taylor pitching for "Byron's" against Brad Martin of "Byers Market" and throwing a no-hitter with a 1-0 win as Taylor homered for the game's only hit.
That game was a game that was talked about for years that even as I sat in the booth,so it wasn't (yet again) a game that got better with age.
I remember some of the newspaper clipping and he was just as dominant in Pony League,but he must have peaked early or had an injury in the days where such things weren't as closely paid attention to because his name wasn't heard as much by my freshman year in high school where Taylor was a senior and on the baseball team.
I don't remember as much about him there and I don't believe that he was ever drafted.

Watching the ESPN program about the 1982 Kirkland Washington LLWS winners and their star pitcher Cody Webster made me think of Danny Taylor as a player that might have peaked too soon and whatever happened to him.
Since I wasn't friends with him,there would be no reason to know other than his dad helped coach me one season when I played and I have no idea where he is or what he does.
Still,his name comes up when the above question is asked a few times a year to me and I wonder just what happened to Danny Taylor and how such a dominant player never received a chance to play at the professional level.

Imagine just how many players have similar stories in the game and you get an idea of just how hard it is to make it in professional baseball..

Will try to be back next time with a look at our road trip to Pulaski and Calfee Park...

No comments: