Before Joba Chamberlain, before Phil Hughes, there was Brien Taylor. Drafted #1 overall by the Yankees in 1991, Taylor was widely touted as the next great lefty hurler, someone who would take New York by storm as he dominated major league hitters with ease. Today, homerderby.com is running through their list of worst #1 picks, and here is their bit about Taylor, for those who do not know his story:
Under advisement by Scott Boras, Taylor held out until the Yankees caved and gave him an unprecedented $1.55 Million signing bonus.
Mind you, after his first two seasons in the minors … he looked like he might be worth it. In Class A in 1992, he had 187 K’s in 161 innings and in 1993 went 13-7 with 150 K’s in AA Albany.
But in December 1993, he separated his shoulder and tore his labrum in a fight in a trailer park – does anything good ever happen in a trailer park? Dr. Frank Jobe described the injury as one of the worst shoulder injuries he’d ever seen.
Taylor never posted an ERA under 6 the rest of his minor league career and never sniffed the Majors.
Reading this quote, I wondered about Taylor’s fate. What happened to him once the talent was gone? The most recent article I could find about him was dated July 2006, an article from the Lawrence Journal:
Taylor worked briefly as a UPS package handler in the Raleigh area, and reportedly had a stint working for a beer distributor. He moved around a lot, apparently had a series of relationships and liked to move fast; his collection of speeding tickets includes one for doing 91 mph in a 45 mph zone in March 2003. There was a more serious brush with the law in January 2005, in Wake Forest, N.C., where police charged Taylor with misdemeanor child abuse for allegedly leaving four of his children – ranging in ages from 2 to 11 – alone for more than eight hours. According to a law-enforcement source, Taylor said he was out shooting pool and thought the children were with their mother. He didn’t show up for his court date. There are four outstanding warrants for his arrest, Wake County records show.
Fifteen years after he was the greatest sensation ever to hit Carteret County, Brien Taylor rides the back roads of North River, living on a street that bears his name. He and his father often stop at the Piggly Wiggly for a bite of breakfast before work; there’s a counter in back with $1.89 omelettes on the grill and tacky drawings of lighthouses on the wall. At night, Taylor sometimes shoots pool at the Royal James Cafe in downtown Beaufort, a no-frills place with $1.50 drafts. It’s named for a pirate.
Wow. It sounds like Taylor had a pretty rough fall, going from being the toast of the town to facing legal and financial difficulties. Life, and more relevant in this case, fame, are notoriously fickle, and once the lights turn down, players are often left with few options. Is it any wonder that players do anything that they can to earn as much as they can before it all slips away?
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