Good luck Michael…
Michael Taylor quietly retired from baseball.
The five-time Minor League Player of the Week, two-time Oakland A’s organizational All-Star (2012 & 2013), two-time Mid-Season All-Star (2008 & 2009), 2009 Topps Double-A All-Star, and 2009 Eastern League Rookie of the Year, hung up his cleats on Monday, March 9, 2015.
I first met Taylor in the summer of 2009. At that point, Taylor was an up-and-coming prospect — one of the game’s brightest stars.
I knew a lot about him by the time he made his way to the Lehigh Valley on July 16, 2009. I worked for the IronPigs in 2008 and 2009 — and he had a terrific 2008 season — combining to hit .346 with 19 home runs and 88 RBIs in 132 games between Lakewood and Clearwater.
When he made his way to East Allentown in 2009, Taylor was tearing up the Eastern League as a member of the Reading Philies — a team I would actually go on to work for in 2010 and 2011.
I’ll never forget the day he was called up to Lehigh Valley. There were a TON of media members interested in talking to Michael. He couldn’t be nicer! And, throughout the season, he handled all of the attention very well. There was a lot of attention on him too.
At the time of his promotion, he was hitting .333 with 15 home runs and 65 RBIs for the R-Phils and deserved that promotion. He didn’t slow down with the ‘Pigs either.
That season with the IronPigs, Taylor appeared in 30 games and hit .282 with five home runs and 19 RBIs. He hit-for-the-cycle on August 12, 2009 (The “Michael Cycle”). He went 5-for-5 with two doubles, a triple, a home run, four RBIs, and two runs scored that day. Taylor hit a remarkable .320 with 20 home runs, 84 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases combined with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2009. At the end of the year, he was named the Eastern League’s Rookie of the Year.
Originally drafted by the Phillies in the fifth round of the 2007 draft, Taylor hit a remarkable .320 with 20 home runs, 84 RBIs, and 21 stolen bases combined with Double-A Reading and Triple-A Lehigh Valley in 2009. A season, later, Taylor was traded — twice.
On December 16, 2009, he was traded by the Phillies with Travis d’Arnaud and Kyle Drabek to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roy Halladay and cash. He was then traded by the Blue Jays to the Oakland A’s for Brett Wallace on the same day.
He spent parts of five seasons in the A’s system — mostly playing for Triple-A Sacramento. He put together some solid numbers with Sacramento — and earned a promotion to Oakland in 2011, 2012 and 2013. He appeared in 11 games for the A’s in 2011 — the most at the Major League level before a trade brought him to the White Sox system in June (2014).
At the time of the trade, Taylor was playing for Triple-A Sacramento and was hitting .243 (53-for-218) with five home runs and 31 RBIs over 59 games. He was immediately assigned to Charlotte and joined the Knights at a familiar spot — Coca-Cola Park in the Lehigh Valley. It was a great story — and I couldn’t pass up the chance to take the trip.
Taylor was once again a story in Phillies country as he appeared on the IronPigs TV pre-game show and talked to some of the local media. When I re-introduced myself to Michael on June 16, 2014, it was nearly five years to the day we first met. His attitude, his demeanor, his smile — never changed.
When Taylor was added to the Knights, he brought a new energy to a team that was going through its struggles. He immediately hit — and the Knights began to win games. He had 14 hits over his first 13 games and hit safely in 10 of those 13 games. More importantly, Charlotte won 17 of their next 30 games and had a .500 month of June (15-15) and an 18-11 month of July. The Knights went 10-15 in April and 8-22 in May.
Taylor finished the year by hitting .306 for the Knights in 64 games and the White Sox awarded him with a promotion to the majors in September. He went on to appear in 11 games for the South Siders.
Re-signed by the White Sox this offseason, Taylor received an invite to Spring Training. On Monday, however, he decided it was time to call it a career.
While Taylor will ultimately walk away from the game at just 29 years old, his impact on fans, coaches, teammates, and anyone he ever came across throughout his career, will never be forgotten. Good luck Michael in your future endeavors.