The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum continues to celebrate the history of the Negro Leagues, and MLB.com’s Bill Ladson has written a number of articles about some of the league’s legends. Today the focus is on James Allen Taylor, aka Candy Jim. Candy Jim Taylor came from a huge baseball family. He
The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum continues to celebrate the history of the Negro Leagues, and MLB.com’s Bill Ladson has written a number of articles about some of the league’s legends. Today the focus is on James Allen Taylor, aka Candy Jim.
Candy Jim Taylor came from a huge baseball family. He was one of four brothers who had something to do with the Negro leagues. Not only did they make it in the talented league, but they also thrived as active players.
• The Negro Leagues: Full coverage
Brother Ben, for example, played first base and was posthumously elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 2006. CI Taylor, a second baseman, could really play in the middle while Johnny Taylor was a successful pitcher. But Candy Jim stands out. He made a name for himself as a player / manager and was known for putting himself in the shoes of a prize hitter. It also helped him have a longer baseball career than any of his brothers. It took almost 40 years. One historian, Phil Dixon, believes Taylor belongs in the Hall of Fame through Brother Ben.
“I do not think so [the Hall of Fame] got that right, ”said Dixon. “Candy Jim has had the right career. I talked to [first baseman] George Giles, who played for Ben in the Brooklyn Eagles. One of the problems they had with Ben who ran this team – they said he was playing one run at a time. He didn’t adapt to the time. Candy Jim, he kept adjusting to the times. “
More from this series: Stearnes | Newcombe | Howard | Brewer | O’Neil | Paige | Thompson | Wilkinson | Robinson | Campanella | promote
If you thought Satchel Paige was a journeyman in the Negro leagues, Candy Jim would give him competition. Taylor played for 19 Negro League teams, mostly on third base. He spent his best years with the St. Louis Stars in the mid to late 1920s. The right-handed Taylor spent seven years in St. Louis, hitting .340 according to Seamheads.com’s Negro Leagues database and with a base percentage of .398 and a slugging percentage of .543 during that time span.
As a manager, Taylor was a master strategist, historians say. He knew the game. For example, he led the Stars to their first championship in 1928 by defeating the Chicago American Giants for the Negro National League title. He managed the greats Josh Gibson, Buck Leonard, and Cool Papa Bell in 1943 and 1944 while they were with the Homestead Grays. Together they won consecutive titles in the Negro League World Series. In his 30 years at the helm, Taylor won 991 games, a record in the Negro League, according to Seamheads.com’s Negro Leagues Database. It helped that Taylor managed many young players like Mules Suttles, Willie Wells, Double Duty Radcliffe, Larry Brown and Willie Foster.
“We sometimes focus on the real talent on the field and you forget about the people who ran those teams,” said Bob Kendrick, president of the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. “Rube Foster was a master strategist. CI Taylor was a master strategist, as was Candy Jim. They were brilliant baseball tacticians, so they knew the game. “
Candy Jims last year as manager was with the Chicago American Giants in 1947, who were 28-61 years old that year. He was supposed to head the Baltimore Elite Giants from ’48 onwards, but died of a heart attack.
“He’ll make it to the end,” said Dixon. “His life was baseball. He was a good player at first, but he was a great manager. As a manager, he should have been a Hall of Famer. There is so much to do to tell these stories. It just depends on who is telling the story. “