Candy Jim Taylor

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James Allen Taylor
(Candy Jim)

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Biographical Information[edit]

Candy Jim Taylor was a Negro League player for three decades and also managed for three decades. He managed more games than any other manager in Negro League history (and had the most wins as well). He is the brother of C.I. Taylor, Ben Taylor, and Steel Arm Taylor.

1904-1908: Birmingham[edit]

Taylor debuted professionally in 1904 with the Birmingham Giants, a minor black team run by his brother C.I. He hit .290, .306, .298, .340 and .316 in his five years with the club and only made three errors in 55 games as a rookie.

1909-1911: Early years in the top ranks[edit]

In 1909, the 25-year-old moved up to the St. Paul Gophers and hit .188 against top black teams while playing shortstop. The next season, Taylor moved to the Leland Giants but saw limited action. In 1911, Jim jumped to the St. Louis Giants, playing third and batting third but contributing a .200 mark in their games against other top black teams.

1912-1913: Chicago[edit]

Taylor switched to the Chicago American Giants in 1912 and hit cleanup. The third baseman hit .238 his first year and followed with a .267 mark the next.

1914-1918: A team full of Taylors[edit]

Candy Jim, Ben and Steel Arm Taylor all played for the Indianapolis ABCs in 1914, while C.I. managed. Jim hit third in front of Ben and batted .232, but his 6 homers tied George Shively for second among western teams and his 10 steals were second to brother Ben. At age 30, he was beginning to emerge as a star.

Jim jumped to the Louisville White Sox in 1915 and batted .333 but he returned to Indianapolis in 1916. That season, he hit .299/.357/.389 with 13 steals, third-most among top black teams nationwide. In a post-season won handily by the ABCs, Jim went 9 for 17 against his old teammates from Chicago.

Taylor batted .241 in 1917 and his 7 doubles tied Dave Malarcher for third in the west. He went 0 for 2 against Jesse Barnes in an exhibition game that year. Taylor battled injuries that season. In 1918, the veteran moved to second base and hit just .194. He also managed the club for a time.

1919-1920: Dayton; first full season as a manager[edit]

Taylor moved to the Dayton Marcos as player-manager in 1919 and hit .077 in limited time against other top teams. Dayton went 10-18 in 1920 and Jim hit .232 and won a game on the mound. He was 1 for 4 in exhibitions against white major leaguers that off-season.

1921-1922: Cleveland[edit]

Taylor joined the Cleveland Tate Stars in 1921 and produced at a .285/.348/.340 clip and fielded .914 at third base. In 1922, Cleveland joined the Negro National League and finished at 12-23-1. He only hit .217/.299/.362 that year and the 38-year-old appeared to be showing his age, though the next season would indicate that he had a lot left.

1923: Not washed up yet[edit]

Candy Jim was fired by Tate as manager of the Tate Stars after the 1922 season, and the Tate Stars were also dropped from the NNL. With animosity festering between Tate owner George Tate and NNL president Rube Foster, Tate announced that his team would be an associate member of the newly formed Eastern Colored League, while Foster set up a new rival team, named the Cleveland Nationals, and signed Taylor to manage. The Nationals played through most of May 1923, but disbanded after six games and merged with the NNL's other Ohio team, the Toledo Tigers. Taylor immediately moved to manage the Toledo squad, signing a number of his Cleveland teammates. Taylor replaced Big Bill Gatewood as player-manager and hit a whopping .427/.522/.707 in 21 games for Toledo. Having started out at 1-7, the Tigers went 9-10 under Taylor's leadership but folded in July after running out of funds.

Taylor then moved to the St. Louis Stars and managed his third team of the year, replacing Joe Hewitt at the helm. They lost their first 9 games under Taylor but went 14-17 after that. It wasn't for a lack of contribution from their player-manager as he batted .343/.382/.714 with the team. Overall, he had hit .372/~.438/.712 in 1923 in the Negro Leagues. He did not qualify for the NNL batting title or he would have finished third in average, second to Heavy Johnson in slugging and fourth in OBP. Despite his limited playing time, Taylor still tied Johnson for the Negro National League lead in home runs (20), having played most of his games (even while playing for Toledo) in the Stars' bandbox ballpark, Stars Park.

1924-1929: St. Louis and a couple other stops[edit]

At age 40, Taylor hit .347 for St. Louis and managed them to a 36-31 finish. St. Louis finished 69-26 and won the second half title in 1925. They lost in the playoffs to the Kansas City Monarchs, 6 games to 3. The Stars fell to 49-29 in 1926 under Dizzy Dismukes. Taylor managed the Detroit Stars to a 46-40 record and also briefly guided the Columbus Elite Giants. He was 2-0 as a pitcher that season.

With Taylor back at the reigns, St. Louis bounced back to a strong season in 1927, going 60-35, and Jim was 2-1 on the hill.

The Stars finished first in the first half of 1928 and posted a 68-25 overall record. They beat Chicago 5 games to 4 in the post-season. In his last season as manager, St. Louis was 60-28.

1930-1936: Moving around as a manager[edit]

Taylor managed the Memphis Red Sox to a 27-31 record in 1930. In 1931, Candy Jim helped revive the ABCs and they went 43-20 in their first year back in the league. At age 47, Taylor hit .222 off the bench. The ABCs were 34-27 in 1932 in the Negro Southern League.

Taylor became part owner of the team in 1933 and moved them to Detroit, MI, where they became the Detroit Stars. They went 18-12 that year but folded due to a poor economic situation. In 1934, Taylor managed the Nashville Elite Giants to a 20-28 mark. The Elite Giants moved around in 1935 and had a 16-17 record overall.

Taylor managed the team of black stars that won the 1936 Denver Post Tournament; his All-Star cast included Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, Satchel Paige, Ray Brown and Cool Papa Bell.

1937-1947: Some stability, some success[edit]

Taylor was hired by the Chicago American Giants in 1937, 25 years after he had first played for them. They went 25-14 his first year, 25-20 his second and 16-20 his third. It marked the first time since the 1920s that he had spent such a long stretch in one city. He also managed the West in the 1937 East-West Game and they lost.

Jim moved to the Birmingham Black Barons in 1940 and they went 9-11. Returning to Chicago in 1941, Taylor's team had a 7-13 record (and his West team lost the 1941 East-West Game) then fell to a miserable 2-16 in 1942.

With Homestead Grays manager Vic Harris involved in World War II industry to support the war effort, Taylor joined the Grays as a manager in 1943 and they finished first in the NNL at 44-15; they would win the 1943 Negro World Series. The Grays were 27-12 to finish first again the next year and beat Birmingham in the 1944 Negro World Series. The latter year, he managed the East in the 1944 East-West Game and fell to 0-3 in those contests.

Taylor returned to Chicago in 1945 and they went 39-35 but they slipped to 27-45 the next campaign and 14-21 in 1947.

Jim moved one more time, to the Baltimore Elite Giants in 1948 but he died before the season started.

At one time, Taylor also had been vice chairman of the NNL.

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