Obituary: Samuel “Bay” Taylor (1929-2019)

R.I.P. to Samuel “Bay” Taylor, a catcher and outfielder in the Negro Leagues. He died on April 8. The obituary from the St. Louis American reports his age at 92, but a Facebook post from his granddaughter reports his birthdate as January 27, 1929, which would have made him 90. He played for the Kansas City Monarchs (1952-54) and Indianapolis Clowns (1954).

Samuel Taylor was born in Charleston, Miss, but his baseball career started in East St. Louis. (Much of his biographical information came from his granddaughter’s writings. See below for the post written by Erica M. Brooks.) He broke into baseball with the East St. Louis White Sox and soon attracted attention for his abilities.

“I was scouted by the St. Louis Cardinals in 1951 and would have been signed to a contract, but because I was a black man, the players refused to let me dress out and take practice,” he recalled. He said that an offer with the Braves fell through because the team would not offer him a signing bonus. He instead signed with the famed K.C. Monarchs, managed by Buck O’Neil. Taylor was a catcher and outfielder for that team from 1952 through 1954, and he also played for the Clowns in ’54. Taylor also played for many teams in East St. Louis, St. Louis and Brooklyn.

Unfortunately, I cannot find any statistics for the Negro Leagues in the post-integration era. By his estimation, Taylor’s best season came when he hit .325 with 25 home runs and 51 RBIs for a team called the Midgets. He said that his catching style was similar to Yadier Molina and that he learned from his idol, Roy Campanella.

“I admired his style of catching because he was a good receiver. Campanella had the perfect crouch for a catcher,” he told the American in 2015.

After baseball, Taylor was honored for his baseball career by the St. Louis Cardinals, who invited him to throw out a ceremonial first pitch on several occasions.


Tribute to Samuel Taylor by Erica M. Brooks:

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