Tony Taylor, one of the smoothest infielders in Phillies history, suffered a series of strokes on Saturday night after returning to his Center City hotel from an alumni event at Citizens Bank Park.
Taylor, 83, remains under observation at Jefferson University Hospital. His wife, Clara, hopes that Taylor will be released by Wednesday. The Taylors live in Miami Lakes, Fla., but neurologists told Taylor that he cannot fly for at least two months. Clara Taylor said they would arrange a way to drive to Florida when her husband is cleared to return home.
Taylor suffered three strokes, which his wife said were “mild” and a scan did not reveal any blood on his brain. Taylor is “steady,” Clara Taylor said.
The Cuban-born Taylor played 15 seasons with the Phillies, which is tied for the fourth-most in franchise history. He was an All-Star in 1960, his first year with the team after being traded by the Cubs, and was added to the Phillies Wall of Fame in 2002. He played 1,003 games at second base, which was the franchise record until Chase Utley passed him.
The everyday second baseman for the ill-fated 1964 team, Taylor had a career .976 fielding percentage over 19 major-league seasons. He retired in 1976 with the Phillies and spent time as a coach (1977-79, 1988-89). His defense led to former Phillies broadcaster By Saam coining the term “Taylor-made double play” when Taylor turned two.
In 1971, the Phillies traded Taylor to Detroit, where he played through the 1973 season. After being released by the Tigers, Taylor finished his career by playing his last three seasons with the Phillies performing mostly as a pinch hitter. Taylor’s 54 career pinch-hits rank second among Phillies players.
He was in Philadelphia this weekend for the team’s annual Alumni Weekend. The Phillies honored him before Saturday’s game when they announced all of their living Wall of Fame members.
“That meant so much to him,” Clara Taylor said. “That’s his life.”
Taylor recalled in 2002 that he was upset to leave Chicago in 1960. He was playing day games at Wrigley Field with Ernie Banks. But because he was headed to Philadelphia, Taylor said he was “very angry.”