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Sun, 07.01.1888

Ben Taylor, Baseball Player born

Ben Taylor

Ben Taylor was born on this date in 1888. He was a Black baseball player in the Negro Leagues.

Born in Anderson, S.C., Taylor was an outstanding defensive player whose efforts consistently saved his teammates from errors. He also had a lifetime .333 average, and in all but one of his first 16 seasons, Taylor batted over .300. Taylor started as a pitcher for the Birmingham Giants in 1908.

After playing for the St. Louis Giants (1911-12), New York Lincoln Giants (1912), and Rube Foster's Chicago American Giants (1913-14), Taylor made his name playing for the team his brother, C. I. Taylor managed and owned, the Indianapolis ABCs. Initially sponsored by the American Brewing Company, the roster was littered with Taylors, including Ben's brothers "Candy Jim" and "Steel Arm" Johnny Taylor.

He took that hot bat into the 1916 championship season and went 11-for-18 in the World Series, stealing three bases in five games. Taylor mainly played with Indianapolis from 1914 to 1922. In that final season, he replaced C. I. as a manager after his death. In 1923, Taylor organized the Washington Potomacs. The team joined the new Eastern Colored League in its inaugural season the following year.  He continued as a player/manager, joining Harrisburg in 1925 and the Baltimore Black Sox from 1926 to 1928.

He was then traded to the Bacharach Giants in exchange for their manager Dick Lundy before the 1929 campaign, the final season of his playing career. He continued to coach and manage until 1940.

After leaving the game, Taylor became an active businessman, operating a poolroom and acquiring the rights to printing and selling game programs at Baltimore Elite Giants games.  Before Buck Leonard, Taylor was the best first baseman to play in the Negro Leagues. Ben Taylor died of pneumonia on January 24, 1953, in Baltimore.

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