By Roy Reiss
February 2, 2016
It’s pretty rare when a player has a greater impact on a community after he’s left that community rather than when he actually played there.
The soft spoken Georgia native has been on the minds of Kettleers fans ever since playing at Lowell Park in the championship 2010 Cape season. The fleet outfielder was an excellent major league prospect while playing for the University of Georgia in the tough Southeastern Conference. His career numbers were a very impressive .312 batting average with 36 stolen bases in 117 games.
JT’s life changed dramatically seven months after leaving Cotuit in March of 2011. Playing centerfield in a game against Florida State, Taylor collided while chasing a fly ball with left fielder Zach Cone, who also played with the Kettleers in 2010. JT didn’t get up and has been paralyzed ever since the collision.
After spending several months at the Shepherd Spinal Center in Atlanta and undergoing extensive rehabilitation, the 25 year old Taylor re-enrolled at the University of Georgia in January of 2012. Some 23 months later in December 2013 Taylor was part of the graduating class earning a degree in consumer economics.
And along with that came another personal accomplishment. “A couple years after my injury I got to drive again. There’s nothing better than to drive yourself. It’s a big step for independence,” added Taylor.
It was then that Taylor decided he’d like a career in insurance/financial planning and that’s when the Cotuit Athletic Association lent some financial assistance to help JT achieve his personal goal.
Along the way the courageous Taylor received the Courage Award from the Tempe Sports Foundation and a year later the University of Georgia cited him for their Inspiration Award.
Taylor’s determination to live a meaningful life and help others who have disabilities remains one of his every day goals. “I’ve been appointed by Georgia Governor Nathan Deal to be on the GVRA (Georgia Vocational Rehabilitation Agency) Board. One of my personal highlights was recently having the opportunity to speak at the Warm Springs Graduation Ceremony. It’s an academy that help kids with disabilities prepare for employment and being independent, “ explained Taylor.
As for what he’s doing presently, JT is back at the University of Georgia working toward his masters in financial planning, “I started this past Fall in a two-year program so I don’t have much longer. What I like is that I get to be back on campus a little longer and the opportunity to learn from great professors,” said Taylor.
It’s been some 6 years since playing for the Kettleers in that championship 2010 season, yet JT still has fond memories of his time on the Cape. “The thing I recall the most about the baseball was getting the chance to meet some great players from other schools. I thought everyone was great.”
But there was one lasting memory of his Cotuit summer that JT will never forget, “My days with the Fater family. They are absolutely amazing, the best, and I still stay in touch with them.”
On the social front …
Former Kettleers favorite Tony Kemp (2012 Vanderbilt) proposed to his long time girl friend Michelle Chieng on New Year’s eve. Kettleers photographer Joe Cavanaugh captured the couple late in the 2012 summer after a game in Falmouth,
And long time Kettleers bench coach Brian Scott married his long time girl friend, Jessamy, this past November. Scott also reports he’ll be back at Lowell Park for the 7th consecutive summer this year!
Kettleers Korner will be anything and everything that might interest fans, past and present, about the Kettleers. Roy Reiss, who started his career working for Curt Gowdy Broadcasting, was a former sportscaster on Channel 7 and several radio stations in Boston. His son Mike now covers the Patriots for ESPNBoston.