Tony Taylor, the longtime Phillies second baseman known for his defensive prowess, has returned home to Miami and is recovering in a rehab facility after suffering a series of strokes earlier this month while in Philadelphia for the team’s alumni weekend at Citizens Bank Park.
Taylor’s wife, Clara, said the Phillies paid for Taylor to fly home last week on a medically equipped private jet. Taylor, 83, was taken by ambulance from Jefferson Hospital to Philadelphia International Airport, where a team of nurses flew with him to Miami.
“The Phillies have done great,” Clara Taylor said. “They were wonderful. He’s doing therapy and progressing really slow but hopefully well. We don’t know how long he’ll be in therapy, but it’s a well-qualified rehab center.”
Taylor is alert, talking, and eating on his own, his wife said. But his eyesight is limited, which causes him to have trouble balancing and walking on his own.
Taylor suffered the strokes Aug. 3 after returning from Citizens Bank Park to his Center City hotel room. He attended an autograph signing earlier that afternoon in Havertown and was at the ballpark that night for the team’s Wall of Fame ceremony. Taylor, who was added to the Wall of Fame in 2002, looked well when he walked onto the field for this year’s ceremony.
While hospitalized at Jefferson, Taylor was visited by former teammates and co-workers from a playing and coaching career than spanned five decades. Phillies owner John Middleton and former owner Ruly Carpenter have consistently checked in.
Taylor played 15 seasons with the Phillies and had a career .976 fielding percentage. He played 1,003 Phillies games at second base, which was the franchise record until Chase Utley passed him.
Taylor retired in 1976 and spent time as a coach for both the Phillies and Marlins. He was the second baseman for the 1964 Phillies and his smooth play at second base helped broadcaster By Saam coin the term “Taylor-made double play.”