Steel Arm Johnny Taylor

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Jonathan Boyce Taylor
(Steel Arm Johnny)

Biographical Information[edit]

"Steel Arm" Johnny Taylor was the second-oldest of four baseball-playing brothers, the others being Charles, Benjamin, and James.

Pitching for Biddle University in Charlotte, NC in 1898, Taylor was dubbed "Steel Arm Johnny" by a white sportswriter impressed with the speed of his pitches. He pitched for a number of semi-pro teams in South Carolina teams during the summers as well, and began his professional career in 1903 with the Birmingham Giants. By 1908, all three of his brothers had joined him on the team, and he beat Hall of Famer Smokey Joe Williams 1-0 in San Antonio, sealing his victory by striking out the side with the bases loaded in the 9th inning.

Taylor helped pitch the St. Paul Gophers to a claim of a western championship in 1909, posting a combined record of 37-6 between Birmingham and St. Paul. He pitched for the Leland Giants in 1910, the St. Louis Giants in 1911, the Lincoln Giants in 1912, and the Chicago American Giants in 1913 before reuniting with his brothers in 1914 on the Indianapolis ABCs. He pitched professionally until 1925.

He also coached college baseball for many years, starting in 1899, emphasizing to his players the virtues of clean living and hard work, abstaining from alcohol and tobacco himself.

Further Reading[edit]

  • Paul Debono: The Indianapolis ABCs: History of a Premier Team in the Negro Leagues, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2007 (originally published in 1997).