AS DRAFT PICKS go, it was a grand slam.

Yesterday, in the 33rd round of the amateur draft, the Texas Rangers selected paralyzed Georgia outfielder Johnathan Taylor.

Taylor broke his neck after colliding with fellow outfielder Zach Cone during a game 3 months ago. (Cone, by the way, was selected by the Rangers in the first round.)

"This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization," Georgia coach David Perno told Andy Bitter, of the Ledger-Enquirer, of Columbus, Ga. "J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He's been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted."

Before fracturing two vertebrae, Taylor, from Acworth, Ga., hit .312 in 117 games.

"I was pumped up when the Rangers told me they were thinking about drafting J.T., and then I got a call saying that they had drafted him," Cone said. "I was already planning on going over to see him and now we can talk about the Rangers. This made my day, it's just awesome, and I'm so happy for him."

Class II: Carroll brothers come home

The Rangers don't hold a monopoly on doing the right thing. The Carroll brothers, Matt and Pat, probably didn't think it was a big deal to participate in last weekend's annual Horsham Day two-ball basketball tournament. But they scored big with those who attended.

"Most professional athletes show up minutes before the event and leave right after its over," said Wally Grummun, a longtime Horsham Day volunteer. "But Matt and Pat came early and even helped set up. And they stayed long after the tournament, talking with kids and signing autographs. They haven't forgotten where they came from."

The Carrolls attended Hatboro-Horsham High. Matt now plays for the Charlotte Bobcats and Pat starred at Saint Joseph's and played professionally in Europe.

- Tom Mahon

Send email to