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Inspiring Canadians - In Sport and Life

Honoured Member

RON TAYLOR

Inducted in 1993

Member Details

Date of Birth: December 13, 1937
Place of Birth: Toronto, Ontario
Sport: Baseball
Member Category: Athlete

Career Highlights

1964

World Series winner, St. Louis Cardinals

1969

World Series winner, New York Mets

Honoured Member RON TAYLOR
Inspire

Story

Ron Taylor began playing baseball as an eight-year-old in Toronto's Leaside Baseball Association. Little did he know that his major-league dreams would be realized when he started playing on Canadian sandlots. A pitching prodigy by the time he was a teenager, Taylor was spotted by a scout for the Cleveland Indians. In 1956, he was signed to a contract and he spent the next five years intentionally missing spring training and joining an Indians' farm team mid-season so that the could finish school. He graduated with an engineering degree from the University of Toronto in 1961 and broke into the major leagues with the Indians in 1962. Following the 1962 season, Taylor was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. In St. Louis, he was used almost exclusively as a relief pitcher and he became one of the National League's most reliable relievers. In 1964, he led the Cardinals in appearances and won more games than any other National League reliever. St. Louis captured the pennant that year and won a hard-fought World Series over the New York Yankees in seven games. Taylor made two appearances and earned the save in game four when he held the powerful Yankees lineup, which included Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, hitless over four innings. Midway through the 1965 season Taylor was traded to Houston, and in 1966 he suffered a serious back injury. His career was resurrected when the New York Mets purchased his contract prior to the 1967 season. New York's Shea Stadium was an unlikely place from which one of the National League's most reliable relief pitchers would emerge. Since setting a record for losses as an expansion team in 1962, the Mets had become one of baseball's sorriest franchises. But things were about to change, and Taylor was front-and-centre on one of baseball's most storied and unlikely championship teams. For three seasons, from 1967 to 1969, Taylor led the Mets' pitching staff in appearances and saves. In 1969, the Mets surprised the baseball world by winning the National League's east division and Taylor was the winning pitcher in the division-clinching game. In the National League Championship Series, the Mets swept the Atlanta Braves in three straight games with Taylor recording a save in the first game and a win in the second. Despite their success, the Mets entered the 1969 World Series against the Baltimore Orioles as decided underdogs. Taylor appeared in two games, saving a Mets victory in game two by getting future Hall-of-Famer Brooks Robinson to ground into a game-ending double-play. The "Amazing Mets" captured the World Series title in five games. Taylor's major-league career ended in 1972 following a brief stint in San Diego. He appeared in 491 games during his major-league career, pitching nearly 800 innings. He finished with a record of 45 wins, 43 losses, and 72 saves, while compiling an earned run average of 3.93. Taylor ranked among the top-ten in appearances and saves for National League pitchers four times. But perhaps his greatest contributions came in the post-season. He did not allow a run in six post-season games and in his seven World Series innings Yankees and Orioles hitters failed to record a hit against the Canadian reliever. Following his playing days, Taylor continued to make his own distinctive contribution to Canadian sport. He returned to school to complete a medical degree at the University of Toronto in 1977. In 1979 he was appointed the Toronto Blue Jays team physician, a position he still holds today. As well, in 1980, with a grant from the Syd Cooper Family Foundation, he helped to establish the S.C. Cooper Family Sports Medicine Clinic at Toronto's Mount Sinai hospital.


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