Wednesday, June 01, 2011

#329 Hawk Taylor

#329 Hawk Taylor
Does anyone know why they called Robert Dale Taylor "Hawk"? An inquiring mind wants to know.

Fun facts about Hawk Taylor:

-A native of Metropolis, IL, Hawk received a $100,000 signing bonus from the Braves in 1957.

-Forced by bonus baby rules to remain on the major league roster, the 18-year-old appeared in only seven games and received a single at-bat. The following year, he got eight at-bats in four games.

-The young catcher showed power potential in the minors with 23 home runs in 1958 and 17 a couple years later, but continued to languish behind Joe Torre and other Milwaukee starters. He received only 117 plate appearances in parts of 5 seasons with the Braves.

-His first big league homer came on October 1, 1961. With the Braves trailing the Giants 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, Taylor pinch hit for Roy McMillan and tied the game by taking Mike McCormick deep. Milwaukee won it in the tenth with a walkoff single by Al Spangler.

-Hawk was sent to the Mets prior to the 1964 season and hit .240 with 4 homers and 23 RBI as a reserve.

-On June 20, 1964, he replaced injured catcher Chris Cannizzaro in the second inning of a game vs. the Phillies and went wild. His 4-for-5 day included a pair of two-run home runs as New York won 7-3.

-For someone who didn't play regularly, Taylor had his share of memorable home runs. On August 17, 1966, his fourth-inning clout off of Pirates pitcher Bob Veale was the first pinch-hit grand slam in Mets history. It keyed a comeback from a 7-1 deficit as the Mets went on to win 8-7.

-He failed to even hit his weight in 1965 and 1966, but rebounded to post a .281 average in limited duty with the Mets and Angels in 1967.

-With the Royals in 1969, Hawk appeared in 64 games, including a league-high 52 as a pinch hitter. He batted .270 with 3 homers and 21 RBI. Each of his home runs was a three-run shot that gave Kansas City the lead.

-After hitting just .164 with the Royals in 1970, he was traded to the Red Sox, but did not play in the majors after that. In parts of 11 seasons he hit .218 with 16 home runs and 82 RBI.

#329 Hawk Taylor (back)

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