In Hartford, there is a push to make sure the name of one of the Capital City’s great athletes is never forgotten.
A measure to rename the baseball field at Colt Park for Johnny "Schoolboy" Taylor has already gotten the support of the City Council an now awaits the collection of necessary signatures to move forward.
Taylor was a Hartford native and Bulkeley High School baseball player whose talent on the diamond took him on to a career in the Negro, Mexican and Cuban leagues. Born in 1916, the color lines in professional baseball hadn’t been broken when Taylor came of age and racial segregation kept him from playing in major league baseball, despite his tremendous talent.
His daughter, who lives in Bloomfield, said Taylor was an unassuming man despite his talent in his chosen sport and shunned attention for his accomplishments when he was alive. He was however proud to have helped open doors for future African American players.
“My father always felt that he paved the way for those other players that would break those barriers” said Lynette Taylor Grande.
The field that would bear Taylor’s name is currently in disrepair, but funding for renovation has been approved and work is expected to begin in 2020. Currently, supporters of the renaming are gathering the signatures required to rename public property. The Greater Hartford Twilight League, where Taylor played for two seasons, hopes the new field will usher in new generations of baseball excellence like his in Hartford.
“If they see a plaque with his face his story on it and Bulkeley High School baseball team plays here and fans come here, then baseball will be back in this park” said Weston Ulbrich, league secretary.
Taylor would eventually retire from baseball. He moved on to be a fulltime husband and father of four while pursuing a second career in construction. He was 71 when he died in 1987, but if all goes according to plan, a piece of him will live in Hartford forever.
Our joy is that other people get to know about my dad,” said Lynette Taylor Grande.