Biography Interview of Albert Mitchell Taylor By: Karlis Thorpe
Albert Mitchell Taylor was born in San Diego, Ca at Mercy Hospital, January 12, 1952. Mr Taylor reports that he has one sister, but chose not to describe his personal family life in depth. Mr. Taylor has been married for twenty-one years to Maxine Taylor, and with her he has one daughter, Areanna Taylor. Mr. Taylor’s background and experience derives around the community he serves, originally from Linda Vista, Ca., Mr. Taylor now works continuously in the city of San Diego. As a youth growing up Mr. Taylor participated in many activities, as a child he played sports such as: golf, tennis, flag football, baseball and enjoyed simple things such as marbles yo-yo and playing outside. A deep contrast from our society, which deals with popular culture, television, and video games. Mr. Taylor state he has received many accolades as a young adult including being the first black person to go to the Punt, Pass and Kick finals, followed by the first African American to win jr. Golf Championship at twelve, and win third place in the city hand ball tournament championship and won numerous of titles for basketball and baseball.
As far as his educational background Mr. Taylor attended Kearney Senior High School in San Diego, Ca., where he was a three sport varsity starter. These sports consisted of Basketball,Baseball and Football. During his time in high school he began working with the San Diego Parks and Recreation Centers at the age of sixteen, where he worked as a recreation center leader and part time employee. This began a long history with the Parks and Recreation Center in San Diego for Mr. Taylor with over thirty years of service. He has coached baseball at places such as: Morse High School Eastlake High School, Kearney High School. Olympic View High School, Lincoln High School and many more.
After graduating from high school Mr. Taylor explains he had two prominent options. The first he could have pursued his football career at USC as a defensive end, although feels that he was to slow to do so. Therefore he chose to take his ninety-seven mile per hour fastball to the Major leagues and signed a contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for four thousand dollars. After a season with the Dodgers Coach Taylor then played for the Chicago Cubs, Serving four years in minor league baseball, he was released and began working as batting practice pitcher for the padres. During the off seasons of baseball Mr. Taylor was not shy in committing himself to community services in San Diego. He was a Jv Soccer coach, Jv baseball coach and western league champion sharing the title in tennis also. After baseball Mr. Taylor committed his self to working at an orphanage in Tijuana, Mex. He spent a year there and after decided to committing his self back to school and attended San Diego State University, where he studied physical education. Understanding at this time that a high school education was all that was required he chose to work at the United Parcel Service. Mr. Taylor has worked with the San Diego Parks and Recreation center for over thirty years where he has implemented programs such as a volley ball program at Rancho Pennisquitos Parks and Recreation center, he has also worked with thousands of youth over time trying to help improve the community he lives in.
Mr. Taylor prides himself and other with his very inspirational speeches on hard work and dedication, these are the things he enjoys on his time off, thus proving that even in his time off he loves inspiring people and it is a twenty four hour job. He has been a Vice President of the Major League Baseball Players Alumni association where he as raise money to help children, and has raised over fifty thousand dollars in grant money for organizations such as the Jackie Robinson Foundation, and the YMCA. Mr. Taylor has also been apart of a long list of Charitable events that sits some where in the twenties, for example, Toys for Tots, Children of California, and Sounds of Silence, etc. Mr. Taylor is an avid Christian who familiarizes himself with the bible and believes that racism is still alive in America. He believes people are still familiar with Jim Crow legislation, and their unfamiliarity with the bible is their reasons for their actions. He is also thankful for the many jobs that he has obtained through the years and the people that have helped him along the way, he was able to make a transitional from baseball to social work type jobs, where he has pulled together people such as Dave Winfield, Hank Aaron and many other people who are popular in the sports world to participate and collaborate in charitable foundations.
Coach Mitchell Taylor has been very inspirational in my early childhood, through my maturation into being a responsible adult. It was only until I left San Diego, Ca that our relationship became distant, and my meetings with him became less frequent. Conversing with my father, I have come to understand that they maintain a consistent relationship, whether its talking on the phone or my father joining Mr. Taylor in community events. Mr. Taylor and I first met at Paradise Hills Park and Recreation center in San Diego, Ca. During this time of our meeting, my father was on his last tours in the Navy and was unable to guide me in my processes with sports and athletics. Mr. Taylor, at the time, was a baseball pitching coach at East Lake High school and a site monitor at Paradise Hill Parks and Recreation. He was more then adamant when speaking to my mother about his life experiences such as: playing professional baseball, high school coaching, and his many years of service with the San Diego County Park and Recreation Centers. My father, skeptical at first, approved of Mr. Taylor advising my development as an athlete and allowed me to meet with Mr. Taylor for pitching lessons two times a week. Mr. Taylor was very dedicated to my development, at the time I was playing travel baseball in the northern county portion of San Diego, which is quite a drive away from the inner city where we resided, yet that did not halt his support for me. To my knowledge when I was between the ages of twelve through fifteen everything I did as far as school, sports, and mentoring was surrounded by the support, counseling, and consideration of Mr. Taylor. Now that I am older, my visits no longer consist around the sporting realm, furthermore, are now along the lines of how I am currently doing and my interest and aspirations during and after college.
One experience I have had when I was under the wing of Mr. Taylor was a trip that we had took to Arizona to the House of then minor league baseball player, and current Major League All-star first baseman; Adrian Gonzalez. Adrian Gonzalez and Mr. Taylor Relationship started during the beginning years of Mr. Taylor’s coaching career at East Lake High School, where Adrian had a batting average, in high school which was .667 and a 14 home run season as a senior. Like I, Mr. Gonzalez was under the tutelage of Mr. Taylor, where through the tiring years as a minor league baseball player he received counseling and mentoring from Mr. Taylor. Mr. Gonzales resided in Arizona, where he was in the farm system for the Texas Rangers at the time, and showed some promise of getting better. He opted for the draft out of high school, at the age of 18 with aspirations of playing baseball in America at its highest level. We flew into Arizona in the off-season, which for baseball is during the winter months, moreover, is consistent with public school systems winter break schedule. The people in the group, my father, myself, another gentlemen and his son, and a current baseball player at East Lake high school were invited to meet Mr. Gonzalez and receive some counseling on the sport of baseball. The first thing on our itinerary was to go to the Texas Ranger training facility and have work outs. There we received hitting instructions and were allowed to use the facility equipment. After leaving the training facility of the Rangers, we then went out to a personal training facility that Adrian used in the off season for his conditioning. There was also another, Minor League baseball player along with us on the trip, Adrian’s Brother, Edgar Gonzalez. My knowledge on Edgar is not as sufficient as it is with Adrian, nonetheless he was very helpful and informing also. Mr. Gonzalez, after the day’s meeting was convinced that we should go to his summer home and meet his wife and see how baseball takes care of those who work hard. Since leaving the facility and the trip there are a few occasions where my father has had contact with Mr. Gonzalez, and these came when he became a San Diego Padre, yet now that he has since been picked up by the Boston Red Sox we have had less contact. The trip inspired me is the least I can say, because now that I am older and a baseball coach at Edison High School here in Fresno, I am able to apply those same techniques and information on hard work that was instilled in me as I was coming up as a child. I thank Mr. Taylor on many occasions on this experience, because those lessons not only apply in the baseball world, but also life lessons of putting your mind to something and working hard to achieve so.