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  1. Tony Taylor has always had a lot of CLASS. I followed his career devotedly from his days as a 22-year-old rookie with the 1958 Chicago Cubs, until he was acquired in 1960 by the Phillies. Taylor at 24 had reached the prime of his career and he hit.281 in his first year as a Phillie and he received his only all-star game selection. In the two 1960 all-star games Tony appeared in both games and got a single in his only at-bat, so he’s batting 1.000 in all-star game competition (1 for 1). Tony then settled in for a long run as the Phillies everyday second baseman. By the end of the decade he was moving around the infield playing a little 3rd baseman and 1st baseman as well as his customary position of 2B. In 1970 he had a season where he was moved around quite a lot, playing three positions, but Phillies manager, Frank Luchessi knew that it was important that Taylor start practically every game, at one position or another because Tony was swinging a hot bat that year. Tony finished the season batting .301.
    Early in the 1971 season Tony was traded to the Detroit Tigers where he was platooned at second baseman with Dick Mc Auliffe. In 1972 Tony participated in his first of only one of two division winning first-place teams in his 19-year-MLB Caree as the Tigers edged the Boston Red Sox for the A.L. East title. His other first-place division winning team was the 1976 Phillies, in his final season as a player. Of course it should have been three first-place finishes, but the Phillies managed to blow a 6 game lead over the final to weeks of the 1964 season to finish as the runner-up to the eventual World Series-winning St.Louis Cardinals. Well, the less said about the ’64 Phillies, the better, I suppose.Those two division winners never got past the first round of the playoffs, so it was quite unfortunate that Tony never played in a World Series.
    One thing I loved about Tony was that when the Phillies were in the field, he seldomly made any fielding errors and he had a very great baseball IQ. I never saw him throw to the wrong base or make a “bone head” fielding play.
    After 1973 Tony was released by the Tigers and at that point he had 1,955 hits on his record/baseball resume. It was with great joy both from Tony and Phillies fans that he signed as a free agent and was able to re-join the Phillies in time for the start of the1974 season. The Phillies were down by a run on Opening Day ’74 when Tony delivered a pinch-hit a single with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. Mike Schmidt followed with a game-winning two run home run and Tony was well on his way to resuming his status as a Phillies Fans’ Favorite. Tony led the National League that year in pinch hits and in pinch hitting batting average. He reached a total of 1,976 career hits by the end of that season.
    In 1975 Tony was again one of the majors best pinch hitter. By the time of Tony Taylor Night on August 9, 1975 (the second time the Phillies held a Taylor Tribute Night) Tony had reached a total of 1,993 career hits. With one weekend to play he had 1,998 hits. He got one hit on Friday’s game to leave him one hit shy of the 2000 Hits Milestone. On the next-to-last day of the season (9/27/1975) , he was given a start and he singled off the Mets’ George Stone for career hit # 2,000 and a Veterans Stadium crowd roared its approval. At age 39 Taylor had achieved his goal and he’d squeezed out every bit of his talent to accomplish that feat. The following day (at a game I attended with a friend) he was not in the starting lineup, but he pinch-hit a single off Future Hall Of Famer and NY Mets icon, Tom Seaver for career hit # 2,001. One Mets pitcher said “Tony , I’m happy that you reached your goal of 2,000 hits. now will you please RETIRE!!”. (Tony wore out Mets pitching throughout his career).
    A spring training injury, prevented Taylor from appearing in a 1976 regular season game until June. He spent most of the ’76 season on the Disabled List, adding only 6 hits to his career total (6 for 25, .240 batting average). Tony called it a career at age 40 after helping the Phillies to the 1976 National League East title.
    When the Phillies Wall Of Fame was inaugurated in 1978, I thought that Tony should be a charter member, but the honor kept on eluding him until he finally received the honor in 2002 at a game and ceremony that I attended.
    The Phillies honor one player or manager, or executive each year and it was on August 3, 2019 Tony attended the Wall Of Fame ceremony that gave Bobby Abreu his well-deserved Phillies Wall Of Fame plaque. after the game upon leaving Citizens Bank Park that Taylor took ill. he was rushed to Thomas JeffersonHospital wher it was revealed that he’s suffered multiple minor strokes. Phillies fans (including myself) were moved to send him plenty of Get Well, Tony wishes. He heard from many former teammates (notably his great friend and former roommate Richie ‘Dick’ Allen, a great slugging 3rd and 1st baseman and a Hall Of Fame candidate.and many former opponents as well wishing him a speedy recovery.
    Tony, now 83 years old is back home in Florida with his wife and family and he has recuperated. We all wish him good health and the very best of everything.

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