Schoolboy Johnny Taylor
From BR Bullpen
John Arthur Taylor
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 0", Weight 165 lb.
Taylor debuted with the New York Cubans in 1935, going 6-4. His 55 strikeouts were two shy of East-West League leader Luis Tiant Sr. In 1936, the 20-year-old went 5-2 and his 58 whiffs were second in the Negro National League behind Satchel Paige. The right-hander struggled at 1-6 for first-place Marianao in the 1936-1937 Cuban Winter League. On September 19, 1937, Taylor threw a no-hitter against Paige's Dominican All-Stars at the Polo Grounds.
Moving to the Pittsburgh Crawfords in 1938, the Hartford native turned in a 11-2 record with a 3.90 RA. He was third in the NNL in victories behind Ray Brown and Terris McDuffie and 4th in RA behind Brown, Henry McHenry and Webster McDonald. In the 1938 East-West Game, Johnny relieved Barney Brown and threw a scoreless 7th and 8th in a 5-4 loss; he gave up three hits and a walk and struck out two. It was his only East-West Game. He struggled again in Cuba that winter, going 3-8 between two teams, one loss behind circuit pacesetter Theolic Smith.
Taylor was 1-0 for the Toledo Crawfords in 1939 but spent most of the year in Mexico, where he was unhittable (11-1, 1.19, 53 H in 105 2/3 IP) for the Cordoba Cafeteros. On July 23, he no-hit Monterrey, the third recorded Mexican League no-hitter ever following ones by Martin Dihigo and Chet Brewer. Taylor led the league in both winning percentage and ERA.
He split 1940 between the New York Cubans (3-9, 51 strikeouts placing him second to Brown) and the Veracruz Eagle (3-1, 5.65, more earned runs than in '39 despite over 70 fewer innings). In 1941, Taylor was 13-10 with a 4.40 ERA for Veracruz but with 150 walks in 190 1/3 innings. He set a Mexican League record for walks, but it stood only three years before Nate Moreland topped it.
Taylor served in the United States Army from 1942 to 1944. He returned with New York in 1945 but went 0-1. Taylor surfaced briefly after integration with his hometown Hartford Chiefs, going 6-7 with a 3.39 ERA in 1949, 8 years since his last regular action on the mound. Of the pitchers with the 15 best ERAs in the 1949 Eastern League, only two never played in the majors - Taylor and fellow Negro Leaguer Roy Welmaker.
- The Mexican League: Comprehensive Player Statistics by Pedro Treto Cisneros
- Black Baseball's National Showcase by Larry Lester
- Cuban Baseball: A Statistical History by Jorge Figueredo
- The Biographical Encyclopedia of the Negro Baseball Leagues by James Riley
- The Complete Book of Baseball's Negro Leagues by John Holway
- Baseball in Wartime