Over the last 25 years there have been a long list of athletes in New York whose careers fizzled almost as quickly as they peaked - Sam Militello, Kevin Maas, David Tyree, Dwight Gooden, Daryl Strawberry, etc. None of those stories is as bad as the legend of Brien Taylor. For those unfamiliar with Taylor, he was supposed to be the next Sandy Koufax and Cy Young but better. The Yankees had signed him to a then-record $1.55 million bonus following the 1991 Draft (1st overall pick). In his first season with the Yankees he was amazing: striking out 337 batters in 324 1/3 innings in Class A and Double-A in 1992-93. The sky was truly the limit until one night he got into a bar fight and hurt his throwing shoulder. What happened next was almost as unbelievable as his talent. He failed in his comeback bid in 2000 with the Mariners and never pitched in the majors.
The New York Daily News reported in 2006 that Taylor, then 34, was living with his parents at the end of a road named after him. There were multiple warrants out for his arrest in North Carolina’s Wake County, according to that story.
Evidently that was just the beginning, according to MLB.com:
Taylor, 40, of Beaufort, N.C., was arrested after joint county and city police completed an operation during which Taylor sold undercover agents cocaine and crack cocaine over several months, according to the report.
Taylor was charged with two counts each of trafficking in cocaine by possession, trafficking in cocaine by sell, trafficking in cocaine by deliver, trafficking in cocaine by manufacture, trafficking in cocaine by transport and felony maintaining a vehicle.
The legend was built so quickly and now it is gone. Take note Jeremy Lin (or whomever the next “Can’t Miss” prospect is)- the bottom is really not that far away when you reach the top.