Jack Taylor (tayloja02)
John William Taylor
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 5' 10", Weight 170 lb.
- Debut September 25, 1898
- Final Game September 2, 1907
- Born December 13, 1873 in New Straitsville, OH USA
- Died March 4, 1938 in Columbus, OH USA
A workhorse pitcher of the early 20th Century, Jack Taylor completed 187 consecutive starts from 1901 to 1906, a mark unlikely to be broken any time soon. During his decade-long big league career, he completed 97% of his starts and won 152 games.
Born in New Straitsville, Ohio, Taylor began his pro career in 1897 with the Milwaukee Brewers of the Western League, who were managed by the legendary Connie Mack. He won 28 games for the Brewers in 1898 before his contract was purchased by the Chicago Orphans late in the summer. He made 5 starts for the team that year, earning a complete game win in each of them.
In 1899, Taylor made 39 starts for the Orphans, completing each one of them and throwing more than 350 innings, but posted a 18-21 record. Despite putting up a 2.55 ERA in 1900 (third best in the National League), he went 10-17, and he was also below .500 in 1901. However, on June 20th of the latter season, he began his complete game streak; it would be more than more than five years before he would be taken out of a game for a relief pitcher.
Taylor had perhaps his finest season in 1902, leading the NL with a 1.29 ERA and 8 shutouts, and winning 23 games, fourth best in the circuit. It was a particularly-notable performance because the team went 68-69 as a whole. On June 22nd of that summer, he threw a 19 inning complete game in a win over the Pittsburgh Pirates. He won 21 games the next year, as his club, now called the "Cubs", finished third in the league. However, that fall, he was accused of throwing games in a postseason exhibition series against the crosstown Chicago White Sox. In December, he was traded to the St. Louis Cardinals for a relatively unproven Mordecai Brown.
Despite additional accusations of throwing games (which were never proven), Taylor won 20 games for the Cardinals in 1904, while leading the NL with 39 complete games; ironically, it was the only time he paced the league in that statistic. The next summer, his team lost 96 games, but he tied teammate Jake Thielman for the club lead with 15 victories. On June 24th of that year, he threw an 18 inning complete game, but took the loss against his former team, the Cubs.
St. Louis struggled again in 1906, but Taylor again tied for the team lead with 8 wins, despite the fact that he only played a partial year with the club. He was traded back to the Cubs on July 1st and won 12 more after the deal, ending the summer with 20 victories. However, on August 13th, he was removed from a start in the third inning, ending his streak of more than five years. Nonetheless, he was part of an impressive pitching staff that included Brown, Jack Pfiester, Ed Reulbach, and Carl Lundgren, and his team went on to the World Series, falling to the crosstown White Sox.
Taylor returned to the Cubs in 1907, but posted an unspectacular 7-5 mark in his final big league campaign. He continued to play in the minors for several more years through 1913. He worked two National League games as an umpire, in 1901 and 1905.
Another major league pitcher was also named Jack Taylor, that one being Brewery Jack Taylor. Brewery Jack pitched nine seasons in the NL from 1891 to 1899, and thus the two Jack Taylors were both in the league in 1898 and 1899. The first Jack pitched for the Cardinals in 1898 while the second was with the club later on.
While the first Jack was called "Brewery Jack", the second Jack was sometimes nicknamed "Brakeman Jack" as he apparently worked in that capacity in the off-season.
- NL Earned Run Average Leader (1902)
- NL Complete Games Leader (1904)
- NL Shutouts Leader (1902)
- 15 Wins Seasons: 6 (1899 & 1902-1906)
- 20 Wins Seasons: 4 (1902-1904 & 1906)
- 200 Innings Pitched Seasons: 8 (1899-1906)
- 300 Innings Pitched Seasons: 6 (1899 & 1902-1906)