C.L. Taylor

This article was written by Darren Gibson

C.L. Taylor (BASEBALL-REFERENCE.COM)Texan outfielder C. L. Taylor was the first star of the new West Texas League in the summer of 1920. The “sphinx-like speed merchant”1 also led the Texas-Oklahoma League in hitting in 1922. At age 27, in the spring of 1925, he reached the majors but went hitless in six at-bats with the Chicago Cubs. Taylor played on in the minors until 1929; he eventually became a proprietor of multiple filling stations in the west Texas “Oil Belt.”

Charles L. Taylor was born on February 9, 1898, in Burnet, Texas, the youngest of Volney Wright Taylor and Julia Virginia (Fields) Taylor’s eight children.2 Mother Julia died when Charles was just two years old. Six years later, Volney remarried in Burnet, to Margaret Ann Elizabeth Neal. She passed away the same year, when young Taylor was eight years old. Volney himself passed away in 1907, when Charles was only nine years old. Little is known about Taylor’s subsequent upbringing in Burnet, 60 miles northwest of Austin.

By 1919, Taylor (who had grown to 5-feet-9 and 160 pounds) was playing for a semipro team in Cooper, Texas, east of Fort Worth. He worked in Dallas. The next January, the 22-year-old center fielder was signed and invited to training camp by the Houston Buffaloes of the Class B Texas League.3 He collected a hit against St. Louis Cardinals’ rookie starter Jesse Haines in an early March exhibition in a game umpired on the bases by Cardinals skipper Branch Rickey.4 The right-handed throwing and hitting Taylor went four-for-four later in March against the Philadelphia Athletics.5 He also collected a base hit off Chicago White Sox ace Red Faber in early April.6

Nonetheless, Taylor was released to the Gorman Buddies of the new Class D West Texas League, over which Texas League president Walter Morris also presided.7 Taylor played for manager Clarence “Pop Boy” Smith, who had just recovered from a bout of pneumonia. Taylor collected four hits in his third game for Gorman.8 In June, he led off both games of a home doubleheader against Abilene with home runs.9

Taylor, described as “the sensation of the past month in the West Texas League,” was leading the loop in late July with a .413 average.10 He was also the only left fielder with a perfect 1.000 fielding percentage.11 Early in his pro career, Taylor’s unique batting stance had him standing “straight up with feet planted so that he was almost directly facing the pitcher.”12

The last-place Gorman franchise moved to Sweetwater in early August, becoming the Swatters. Smith sold Taylor and shortstop Joe Birkhead to the Fort Worth Panthers of the Texas League in mid-August for the 1921 season, while proclaiming Taylor as “the cream of the league.”13

Taylor went hitless in seven at-bats in a season-ending doubleheader. He hit only around .220 over the final two months of the season to end at .332, fourth in the league in 1920. Still, he tied for the league lead in hits, and was declared “the hardest hitter in the Oil Belt League”14 (a common alternate name for the WTL). His older brother Charlie15 pitched for Dallas and Beaumont (also in the Texas League) in 1920 and later played outfield for Orlando and Mexia.

Houston claimed to hold a “string” on Taylor, but after the season the arbitration board of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues ruled that Sweetwater rightfully owned Taylor, and thus had standing to sell him to Fort Worth.16

Back with Fort Worth for 1921 (the Texas League had moved up to Class A), Taylor started off slowly in camp.17 However, he belted a three-run homer off Cincinnati’s Rube Marquard in a Cisco, Texas, exhibition on March 19.18 Around this time he first began to receive the moniker “Chink” in the newspapers.19

Taylor made the roster and was the Panthers’ leading batter by May.20 By July he was “hitting well above .300 and was a prominent cog in the champions wrecking crew.”21 Unfortunately, he was knocked out when he was hit behind the ear by a pitched ball from Dallas rookie hurler Carl Hill on July 8, and sat out over two weeks, losing his league lead in stolen bases.22 Fort Worth manager Jake Atz saluted the toughness of his outfielder: “Don’t worry about that boy being bat shy. He got hit so hard that tears came into his eyes. The umps wouldn’t let him go to first. I saw Chink was hurt and wanted to take him out of the game. But he shook his head – ya know Chin [sic] don’t talk much – then he knocked hell outta the next ball pitched. It liked to have knocked a paling out of the fence.”23

Taylor lost his starting spot in August to new acquisition Bill Stellbauer. He subsequently was left off the league-winning Panthers roster for their Dixie Series victory over Memphis, to adhere to the Southern League’s insistence of a 15-man limit.24 Still, he hit .262 in 140 games for the year, and even won $25 in event prizes by beating teammate Topper Rigney in a 100-yard dash before the Panthers’ final home game.25

The next year, Taylor started back in Fort Worth’s camp, and was trading in his erect stance for a semi-crouch.26 He lost a spring training outfield battle with Cuban outfielder Jacinto “Jack” Calvo. He was soon sent, along with fellow outfielder Joe Bratcher, to the Paris (Texas) Snappers of the Class D Texas-Oklahoma League.27 Taylor’s hot hitting for Paris earned him a gift of a silver bat from a local jeweler.28 The speedy Taylor led the league in hitting most of the season.29 He claimed the title with a .369 batting average in 95 games.30 Paris’s Sam Gray posted a 23-4 mark to pace the Snappers on the mound.

The T-O regular season ended early on August 6 because of a railroad strike, then Paris defeated the Greenville Togs four games to one in the playoffs.31 Taylor, with Paris teammates Bratcher, Gray, and Wilcy Moore, were all promoted back up to Fort Worth.32 Again, though, the Panthers did not use Taylor in their Dixie Series loss to Mobile. Taylor spent the winter working for a Tampico, Mexico, oil company, playing for their ball team, and hunting on his private reserve in his free time.33

For 1923, Taylor returned to Fort Worth’s camp. Again, he was shipped out on option, this time to the Ardmore Cardinals of the Class C Western Association, reuniting with former Paris manager Earl Snapp.34 Early reports noted that Taylor “says little but hits the ball and fields his position. He is the leading hitter of the club.”35 Ardmore won the first half and then the playoff series against Okmulgee, four games to two.36 Taylor led the league with 54 doubles, hit .303, and was again reserved by Fort Worth in the offseason.

On February 17, 1924, Taylor married Fannie Rachel Clements, also of Burnet and seven years younger, in Marble Falls. The couple settled in nearby Granger.37 The Taylors welcomed a son named Charles later in the year. In the same month, Taylor, “the well-known deer hunter from Marble Falls,”38 was sold by Fort Worth to a Texas League rival, the Beaumont Exporters, run by business manager Bob Tarleton.39 The report was that Taylor “has been a Cat farm hand for some time, but has been a Class A player even in Class D surroundings.”40 After hitting .324 for Beaumont, Taylor (now commonly referred to in accounts as C.L.) was drafted by the Chicago Cubs in the October 1924 Rule V draft.

During the Cubs’ training camp in 1925 on Catalina Island, California, young Taylor was introduced as an “enthusiastic hunter and a devotee of the gridiron game.”41 Taylor lost to fellow rookie and 1924 Canadian Olympic track hopeful Mel Kerr in a 100-yard dash match race before a spring training game against the Oakland Oaks.42 Taylor at least had a familiar face in camp: first baseman Ted Kearns, who also hailed at the time from Taylor’s hometown of Burnet.43

Taylor broke camp with the Cubs, and his major league debut occurred on April 18. He grounded out as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the eighth inning of a 20-5 home blowout loss to the St. Louis Cardinals. On May 3, Taylor replaced Cliff Heathcote in the fourth inning, going 0-for-3 at the plate. Taylor didn’t see any more action during April, then tallied five pinch-running appearances and two games in the field in his seven May games with the Cubs. He ended up going hitless in six at bats.

In early June Taylor was returned to Beaumont.44 As it turned out, Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis had to get involved. Taylor was initially traded, along with a player to be named later and $25,000, by the Cubs to the Columbus Senators of the American Association for outfielder John (Mandy) Brooks.45 However, Taylor was forced to return to Beaumont because he’d been drafted from that franchise the prior fall by Chicago.46 The Rule V draft stipulated that a drafted player must remain with the team that drafts him or be returned to the team from which he was selected. Taylor collected four hits in his Beaumont season debut on June 3 against Waco.47 He never let up, ending the season at .367, good for third in the league.48 Later in the 1925 season he was purchased again by Bob Tarleton, by then representing the Shreveport Sports of the Texas League, for $5,000.49 Soon after that he was drafted by St. Louis for the 1926 season.50

Taylor was late in reporting to the Cardinals camp.51 He knew that the Cardinals were loaded with outfielders, but also that the rules dictated that a drafted player must report to training camp before being sent out.52 The “powerful, swarthy looking fellow” did not arrive in San Antonio, Texas, until March 10.53 He was one of nine rookies in the St. Louis camp who had hit .300 in their previous leagues during the prior year.54 Such stiff competition led him to be shipped back to Shreveport.55 He hit .289 for the Sports that year, low by his standards.

Taylor re-upped with Shreveport for 1927 and rebounded with a .316 mark. In May, he belted Shreveport’s first homer of the season, thus earning a “loving cup” from a New Orleans kennel club.56 For 1928, Taylor was sold by Shreveport to the Chattanooga Lookouts of the Class A Southern Association. He hit a respectable .305 for the Lookouts.

High flood waters in Texas made Taylor tardy in reporting to Chattanooga for 1929.57 Still, he was the first Lookout in 1929 to win himself a suit after hitting the Palmer Clothing Company sign in right field with a wallop in April.58 After hitting just .244 as of mid-June, he was sold outright back to the Texas League, to Houston (then in last place).59 After the season, Taylor was shipped by Houston to the Omaha Packers of the Class A Western League.60

In May 1930, Taylor was released by Omaha’s veteran manager Spencer Abbott.61 He returned to Burnet, with the report stating that “as a baseball star, Taylor is about through.”62 He joined the semipro Llano club of the Hill County (Texas) League, 30 miles to the west of Burnet.

During the summer of 1930, Taylor leased his first filling station, in Llano, from Humble Oil and Refinery Company.63 Taylor’s October promotion stated: “Will fix flats any kind tire for 25c.”64 He later purchased a Magnolia Petroleum station, and thanked his Llano clients for their patronage, proclaiming: “We will do our best to give you real service and most cordial treatment, and will try to live up to the name we have selected – ‘Super Service Station.’”65

In 1931, Taylor signed to play for San Saba in the amateur Central Texas League.66 He returned to the Llano squad in 1932 as player-manager, guiding them to a repeat pennant.67 Taylor became a Llano city councilman in 1936.68 Ever the outdoorsman, he hosted a bird hunt; guests included local friend and Detroit Tiger third baseman Pinky Higgins.69

According to the 1940 census, C.L., Fannie, and their sons C.L. Jr. and Charles, lived in Llano. Son C.L. Jr., later served as a captain, being awarded an Air Medal for manning a P-38 fighter pilot with the 13th Air Force during World War II, before joining dad in the family business.70 Charles graduated from the University of Texas with a degree in dramatics.71 The elder Taylor was still an oil agency proprietor with Magnolia (later Mobil Oil), when he moved to San Angelo, opening a station there. Taylor served as the president of San Angelo’s Board of City Development in 1948,72 but had to resign after suffering a heart attack in April of that year.73

In the mid-1960s, Taylor returned to the pro game, working as a part-time scout for the Houston Astros for five years, then the Texas Rangers for one year.74 He received a plaque from Mobil celebrating “three decades in oil” in March 1963,75 and regularly played handball at the San Angelo YMCA even into his 70s.76

Charles “C.L.” Taylor died on July 7, 1980, in Temple, Texas, following a long illness. He was buried in Burnet Cemetery,77 survived by his wife Fannie, both sons, and four grandchildren, all living in Temple.78



This biography was reviewed by Rory Costello and Norman Macht and fact-checked by Kevin Larkin.



In addition to the sources shown in the Notes, the author used Baseball-Reference.com, StatsCrew.com, and MyHeritage.com.



1 Billy Bee, “Flaherty May Work Agaiinst Lefty Johns or Bill Whattaker,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 19, 1921: 10. By 1921 in his professional baseball career, Taylor was given the nickname of “Chink,” to which he was commonly referred.

2 Genealogical sources such as MyHeritage.com generally list Taylor as C.L., but his full name of Charles L. (middle name not known) Taylor was referenced by the 1951 book The Encyclopedia of Baseball, written by Hy Turkin and S.C. Thompson; and in the Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas) in 1922. See “Cats Let Out Chink Taylor,” Times Record News (Wichita Falls, Texas), May 3, 1922: 6

3 “Taylor, Semi-Pro Outfielder, Signs with Houston Club,” Houston Post, January 20, 1920: 11. He was referred to as Charles W. Taylor.

4 “St. Louis Cards Defeat Buffs in Practice Game,” Houston Post, March 5, 1920: 27.

5 “Athletics Profit by Buff Errors and Win the Game,” Houston Post, March 20, 1920: 9.

6 “Faber Tightens in Pinches While Mates Bunch Hits; Score Five Tallies to One,” Houston Post, April 4, 1920: 14.

7 “Houston Rooters’ Club Will Meet Friday at City Hall,” Houston Post, April 8, 1920: 10. As of January 2022, Taylor was incorrectly listed in Baseball-Reference.com as having played for Mineral Wells in 1920.

8 “Gorman 11, Cisco 4,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 3, 1920: 14.

9 “Gorman 12-1, Abilene 3-5,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, June 9, 1920: 19.

10 “Official Averages of West Texas League,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, July 25, 1920: 7.

11 “Taylor, of Gorman, Leading West Texas League; Swats .413; 18 Hit Over .300,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 25, 1920: 23.

12 Billy Bee, “Atz Plans to Send Entire Wrecking Crew Against Cincinnati,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 8, 1922: 12.

13 “Notes,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, August 21, 1920: 6.

14 “Local Squad Reaches 19; More Coming During Week,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, March 2, 1921: 12.

15 Odd as it may seem, there were two similarly named sons in the family. Records (e.g., MyHeritage.com) show C.L. and Charlie Culberson Taylor (born 1895) listed separately.

16 “Texas League Ranks as Class ‘A’ Organization Along with Western and Southern Association,” San Antonio (Texas) Evening News, November 12, 1920: 10.

17 “Chink Taylor,” Fort Worth Record Telegram, March 20, 1927: 27.

18 “Reds Defeat Atzmen Again, 14 to 9,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, March 19, 1921: 3.

19 By 1921 and throughout the rest of his professional baseball career, Taylor was given the nickname of “Chink,” to which he was commonly referred. The Fort Worth Record-Telegram in 1922 attributed the nickname due to Taylor’s “Oriental Countenance.” See “Chink Taylor Topped T.-O. Loop Batters,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, August 13, 1922: 7

20 Al Weatherly, “Signs of Normalcy Welcomed in Texas,” The Sporting News, May 26, 1921: 3.

21 Horace S. McCoy, “Dallas Upsets Dope in Split Texas Race,” The Sporting News, August 4, 1921: 2.

22 “Taylor is Better,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 9, 1921: 3.

23 “Wet at Shreveport,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 11, 1921: 6.

24 “Fort Worth Fans Will See First of Battles; Play to Start Sunday,” Galveston Daily News, September 12, 1922: 4.

25 Billy Bee, “Panthers Close Out Season with Easy Win over Spudders,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram,” September 19, 1921: 4.

26 “Atz Plans to Send Entire Wrecking Crew Against Cincinnati.”

27 Billy Bee “Paris Gets Taylor and Roy Appleton; 2 on Disabled List,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, May 2, 1922: 14.

28 “Silver Bat Given to Chink Taylor by Paris Jeweler,” Daily Ardmoreite (Ardmore, Oklahoma), August 16, 1922: 6.

29 “Chink Taylor Still Maintains His Lead Among T-O Hitters,” Corsicana (Texas) Daily Sun, August 5, 1922: 9.

30 “Paris Stars Will Report for Tryouts,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, August 13, 1922: 7; “Chink Taylor Topped T.-O. Loop Batters,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, August 13, 1922: 7; “Texas-Oklahoma League,” The Sporting News, August 17, 1922: 7. (reported as .370 in 91 games and incorrectly that Taylor reported to San Antonio).

31 “1922 Texas-Oklahoma League Standings,” StatsCrew.com:1922 Texas-Oklahoma League (TTL) minor league baseball Standings on StatsCrew.com accessed December 20, 2021.

32 “Four Texas-Oklahoma Stars Join Panthers,” Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), August 22, 1922: 8.

33 “Train is Late and Cats Get Another Rest,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, September 12, 1922: 6.

34 “Chink Taylor Goes to Kits,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, April 16, 1923: 7. (as of February 2022, listed only as Taylor on Baseball-Reference.com)

35 “Snappers Snap,” Ardmore Daily Press, May 11, 1923: 2.

36 “Snappers Win Championship by Defeating Drillers Last Game,” Ardmore Daily Press, September 26, 1923: 2; “Our ‘Little World Series’ Hopes Fade Out; Ardmore Wins Pennant,” Okmulgee (Oklahoma) Daily Times, September 26, 1923: 6 (both the Okmulgee paper and StatsCrew.com incorrectly list it as a four-game sweep).

37 “Social Note,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, February 21, 1924: 16.

38 Billy Bee, “Taylor Leaves D Ball; Detroit Players Meet; Season Tickets Ready,” Fort-Worth Star-Telegram, February 3, 1924: 18; Pop Boone, “Chink Taylor is Sold to Beaumont,” Fort Worth Record-Telegram, February 3, 1924: 53.

39 “Beaumont Buys Outfielder from Fort Worth Club,” Times (Shreveport, Louisiana), February 3, 1924: 8.

40 “Several Slugging Outfielders Pass from Loop in ’23,” Houston Post, April 13, 1924: 19.

41 Ford Sawyer, “Baseball Birthday Sketches,” Boston Globe, February 9, 1925: 10.

42 “Kerr Defeats Rookie Rival in Foot Race,” Star-Phoenix (Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Canada), April 11, 1925: 9.

43 “Jinx Sports Hotshots,” Waco News Tribune, February 12, 1925: 9. (As of February 2022, he was listed only as ‘Taylor’ on Baseball-Reference.com.)

44 “Beaumont’s Claim to Chink taylor Approved,” Marshall (Texas) Messenger, May 30, 1925: 8.

45 “Cubs Buy Outfielder from Columbus Club,” Daily Deadwood (South Dakota) Pioneer-Times, May 29, 1925: 1.

46 “Taylor Must Go to Beaumont,” The Sporting News, June 4, 1925: 1.

47 “Chink Taylor’s Sensational Debut Only Scares Cubs,” Waco News-Tribune, June 4, 1925: 8.

48 “Dan Clark Corners Individual Honors,” Shreveport (Louisisana) Journal, September 19, 1922: 8.

49 “Money Coming in On Player Sales,” Galveston Daily News, September 14, 1925: 4.

50 “Complete Draft List Given Out by Farrell,” The Sporting News, November 19, 1925: 5.

51 “Landis on Southern Baseball Visit,” Muskogee Daily News, March 7, 1926: 3.

52 Joe R. Carter, “Taylor Due Soon,” (Shreveport, Louisiana) Times, March 9, 1926: 9.

53 Martin J. Haley, “Cardinals Arrange for Three More Games with White Sox at Dallas,” St. Louis Globe-Democrat, March 11, 1926: 19.

54 “Notes,” St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 21, 1926: 18.

55 “St. Louis Cardinals Release Four Players,” Brooklyn Daily Eagle, March 20, 1926: 14.

56 “Chink Taylor, Sport Outfielder, Wins Cup,” Austin (Texas) American, May 21, 1927: 3.

57 “Chink Taylor Aids Lookout Power at Bat,” Chattanooga Daily Times, March 19, 1929: 12.

58 “Doubles for New Suit,” Chattanooga Daily Times, April 25, 1929: 18.

59 “Chink Taylor, Settlemire Go to Texas Loop,” Chattanooga Daily Times, June 16, 1929: 17.

60 “The ‘Slave Market,’” Des Moines (Iowa) Register, December 22, 1929: 3.

61 “Packer Points,” Omaha Evening Bee-News, May 5, 1930: 15.

62 “Notes,” Longview (Texas) Daily News, June 2, 1930: 6.

63 “Ford Garage, Llano, Texas,” Llano (Texas) News, July 31, 1930: 8.

64 “Bargain Event! On Llano’s Trade Day,” Llano News, October 30, 1930: 8.

65 “Your Patronage Appreciated,” Llano News, October 15, 1931: 6.

66 “San Saba Base Ball Team Joins Central Texas League,” San Saba (Texas) News and Star, April 30, 1931: 1.

67 “Llano Cowboys Won the 1932 League Championship Series,” Llano News, October 6, 1932: 3.

68 “City Franchise Tax Adopted by Council,” Llano News, April 16, 1936: 1.

69 “Chink Taylor Has Hunting Party,” Llano News, October 31, 1940: 8.

70 “Capt. Chink Taylor in Traffic Jam – Christmas Waits,” San Angelo (Texas) Evening Standard, December 27, 1945: 11.

71 “Taylor Named to Direct Play; Tryouts Booked,” San Angelo Evening Standard, August 3, 1953: 13.

72 “Taylor Named BCD President,” San Angelo Weekly Standard, January 30, 1948: 7.

73 “Chink Taylor Better After Heart Attack,” San Angelo Standard-Times, April 19, 1948: 6.

74 SABR Scouts Committee research does not show Taylor as a full-time registered scout.

75 “Three Decades ‘In Oil,’” San Angelo Standard-Times, March 5, 1963: 5.

76 Bob Milburn, “Sport-O-Scope,” San Angelo Standard-Times, October 18, 1968: 20.

77 “Ex-Baseball Player Services Scheduled,” Temple (Texas) Daily Telegram, July 8, 1980: 6.

78 “Former TL Star C.L. Taylor Dies,” Fort Worth Star-Telegram, July 8, 1980: 24.

Full Name

C L Taylor


February 9, 1898 at Burnet, TX (USA)


July 7, 1980 at Temple, TX (USA)

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