Who is this? Reggie Taylor, a former outfielder for the Philadelphia Phillies, Cincinnati Reds and Tampa Bay Devil Rays
What is this? An autograph card from the 2004 Topps set
Where'd I get it? I got the card signed at a Somerset Patriots game in 2006
How much did it cost? I got the card in a trade; the autograph was free.
Why is this so special? Reggie Taylor was the Philadelphia Phillies' first round draft pick in 1995. Baseball America ranked him as one of the Phillies top 10 prospects from 1996 through 2001. He made his major league debut with the Phillies in 2000, but he never really got a chance to play for them.
The Phillies traded Taylor to the Reds during spring training in 2002. The Reds used him as a part time outfielder in 2002 and 2003, but a low batting average and high strikeout rate didn't really help him to hold a big league job. Taylor played a few games with Tampa Bay in 2005, but after that his career took him to Mexico and the independent leagues.
I saw Taylor play with the Lancaster Barnstormers in 2006. He had a good year at the plate, hitting .302 with 23 home runs. But I remember him more because he went out of his way to be nice to kids at the ballpark.
One time, there was a small group of kids who were talking to him during warmups. They wanted autographs, but none of them had a pen. Taylor remembered me asking him for an autograph earlier in the day, after batting practice. He came over to where I was sitting and asked to borrow a pen. He signed for all the kids and returned it before heading to the dugout. How many players are going to do something like that?
Taylor has a few different versions of his autograph; this is the really quick and not very neat one.