Reading Eagle - July 4, 1980
The Baron’s Corner: Tony Taylor Stops By
Tony Taylor, the very popular former Phillies player and coach, stopped by the office last week in between stops on his “let’s tour America in one summer” job.
Tony’s in a new job, roving infield instructor for the Phillies minor league system. Happily, not much has changed with the friendly and enthusiastic Taylor. He walked in the door, smiling and his right hand held out, “hello, hello, hellol.” Only one variation, he’s a little heftier.
His schedule resembles the itinerary of the vaudeville days of the 1920s – Spartanburg, Reading, Peninsula, Oklahoma City, Reading, Helena, Spartanburg, Reading, Oklahoma City. There’s more to come as the minor leagues head into their last one and a half months of play.
Tony specifically visits those cities to work with the young infield prospects in the Phillies chain.
Many a day in the minors, the manager will put his team through a fundamentals-type drill in the morning, early hitting for some individuals in the afternoon, batting practice and infield practice in the evening and then night games.
It’s during these periods of time that Tony instructs the younger players. “I’m also in uniform during the games in the dugout so I can correct something while they are playing,” he added.
Starting with the rookie club in Helena and working up to the triple-A team in Oklahoma City, Tony had these observations of young infielders:
HELENA: Lot of young kids in their first year of pro ball. Need to play a lot. Did like actions of Jim Crawford (2b), Ken Dowell (ss) and Bryan Hoppie (ss).
SPARTANBURG: Jon Lindsey (ss) has been doing a good job, made the All-Star team. Looks like he can be a good player, has speed, arm. Also like Paul Fryer (3b).
PENINSULA: Some pretty good infielders in Frank Borucki (3b) and Julio Franco (ss). Julis is very impressive, has a lot of tools. Still a baby. Tall and slender just like Davey Concepcion was when he signed with the Reds. Don’t believe Julio will fill out like Davey did.
READING: Steve Curry (2b) and Ryne Sandberg (ss). Curry can swing the bat and make the double play pivot. Has a tendency to catch the ball on the heel of his glove but he’s improving. When I saw Sandberg, he was hitting and not steady in the field. Understand, he’s playing very well now.
OKLAHOMA CITY: Jay Loviglio (2b). Played good offensively and defensively. Can steal bases, believe he’s second in the league in steals. Pete Dempsey (3b) is another prospect. He was hurt when I was there and now is at Reading since Billy Smith signed. Luis Aguayo was still with Phillies but I’ll be seeing him soon.
“He did it with a lot better stuff than I ever had.”
That was Robin Roberts’ reaction to the news that Super Steve Carlton had broken his all-time Phillies strikeout record by whiffing Elliott Maddox in the fifth inning June 27th.
“He’s been fantastic, hasn’t he,” continued Robbie, now the baseball coach at the University of South Florida in Tampa. “I really haven’t seen him this year on TV but in talking to Curt (Simmons), he tells me Steve’s better than he’s ever seen him.
“With Steve’s motion, strength and the way he throws, he could pitch until he’s 40.”