Legends' Pitching Coach At Home In Kentucky

LEXINGTON, KY - Charlie Taylor is rapidly becoming a fixture for the Lexington fans. For the third year in a row, the Legends will have the same man guiding the Lexington pitching staff. "That's nice and I have no problem with (being a fixture). How ever many years that I have, I wouldn't mind spending them all here." It's no wonder that Taylor is happy being here in Lexington. He and his wife, Pam, make their home just up the road in Erlanger, Kentucky.

This is Charlie's 22nd year, as a coach with the Houston organization and his 29th year in an Astro uniform. He has made coaching stops in Asheville (twice), Osceola, Columbus (twice), Jackson (twice), Tuscan, Quad City and Michigan before coming to Lexington. During his coaching career, he has been the Pitching Coach on five championship teams (2001 South Atlantic League -Lexington Legends; 2000 Midwest League -Michigan Battle Cats; 1993 Texas League -Jackson; 1986 Southern League -Columbus; & 1984 SAL -Asheville). His understanding of what his charges need to do and the ability to make them understand has been a key to his success. "I try to focus on the kids making progress. If the kids are making progress and getting better, then that's going to add up to wins. Our focus is to make them better, so that they can go on to better things."

When congratulated upon successfully having his players constantly moving upward through the organization, the Legends pitching guru shared his secret with us. "I appreciate that, but like I was telling the guys the other day, 'I'm here to help them, but it's really up to them how much success that they have.' They are the ones that are going to decide that and I try to impress that on them. They are the ones that are going to have to do the job. I'm just here to assist them and hopefully help them here and there." Helping players so that they can make the move up the ladder in the Astros organization is his main goal.

Taylor is a lot like the pitching staff's thermostat. He's here to make sure that when things are going right, he just keeps a watchful eye and when things aren't going so well, he's there to help them turn it up a notch. "One thing, that I think that I'm here to do, is to make sure that they don' t fall into a rut, (or if) they are doing something continuously in a negative manner, that is going to cause them some problems. Hopefully, I'm here to catch that before it becomes much of a problem and they can correct it. But it's up to them to make the adjustments." Another important point that he tries to stress on his youthful hurlers is, "that sometimes they have to be their own coach out there and they have to figure out some things on their own. Lot's of times, if you use a trip out (to the mound), you can 't go out there and tell them what's going on. So, they need to have an idea and a feel for what's going on." Taylor's tutelage stresses growth in his players. Growth in their ability out on the mound and growth as young men as well.

Even though it is still early in the season, Taylor gave us a glimpse of what we can expect to see this year. "We have a pretty diverse staff this year. In the past, we have been a power pitching staff." He went on to explain, "We do have a couple of guys that can get the ball up there with pretty good velocity, but overall I think that the pitching staff is going to be a lot more balanced." This year's Legends pitchers strengths run the pitching gambit, some may throw hard, others strength may be their breaking ball or their sinker or the ability to keep the ball down. So, it should be interesting to see how they come around.

Charile Taylor summed up his time here in Lexington. "We've had two outstanding season here and if we can come close to keeping that caliber of baseball here, I'll be very pleased." The Legends should be extremely pleased to have a person with such commitment and devotion to guide their pitching staff. Remember keep your eye on the goals and swing for the stars!

Copyright © 2003 by Richard G. Herles. Any reprinting of this article without written permission is prohibited. (Reprinting via email is authorized by Rich Herles) www.profilesinsports.com

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