Feb 8, 2016

1954 World Champion New York Giants Pinch Hitter: Billy Taylor (1954-1957)

William Michael Taylor was born on December 30th 1929 in Alhambra California. He hit 97 HRs from 1947 through 193 winning a Northern League batting title for Sioux City in 1950. He then spent two years in the Military serving in the Korean War. The six foot three left hand hitting outfielder was signed by the New York Giants in 1953.

He made the Giants 1954 Championship team, mostly getting used as a secondary pinch hitter behind Dusty Rhodes. Taylor debuted in the second game of the season, striking out against Brooklyn's Don Newcombe. On April 27th he got his first pinch hit, an 8th inning single off Milwaukee's Bob Buhl, driving in a run.

On June 10th he hit a 10th inning pinch hit HR off the Braves Gene Conley in Milwaukee, scoring the only run of the game for Ruben Gomez. On July 21st he won another road game, this time at Wrigley Field with a 9th inning tie breaking single against the Chicago Cubs scoring Hank Thompson.

As the year went on he got less chances with the success that Rhodes was having as a pinch hitter. But Taylor had yet another shining moment on August 22nd. As Hank Thompson tied up the game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at the Polo Grounds, Taylor came up with the bases loaded & one out. He drove a base hit to right field scoring Monte Irvin with the winning run.

Overall Taylor was 9-42 as a pinch hitter although he only hit .185 as a whole. He hit two HRs & drove in ten runs. He did not get any chances to hit in the World Series sweep of the Cleveland Indians.

In 1955 he played in 65 games hitting .266 with four HRs & 12 RBIs. In 1956 he spent the entire year at AAA Minneapolis batting .308, getting to New York for just one game. In 1957 he batted .274 at Minneapolis & played eleven games with the Giants but went hitless. In September his contract was purchased by the Detroit Tigers.

He appeared in just eight games with the Tigers in 1958. In a five year career he batted .237 with 7 HRs 8 doubles 26 RBIs & a .264 on base %. He continued to play in the minor leagues through 1961. He batted .311 there in an eleven year career with 186 HRs & 380 RBIs.

Trivia: Topps used the same picture of Taylor for his 1954 & 1955 baseball cards.

Retirement: After baseball Taylor worked in the real estate business with Canyon Country Realty in Acton, California. He passed away in September 2011 at age 81.

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