The Oakland A’s season finale on Sunday was overshadowed by their upcoming Wild Card Game next week, but there was one moment worth celebrating before shifting focus to the postseason. Backup catcher Beau Taylor collected his first hit as a major leaguer, knocking a double against Angels reliever Odrisamer Despaigne.
This milestone was a long time coming for Taylor. He was drafted by the A’s back in 2011, and it took eight minor league seasons before he found his way to the bigs. He finally made his MLB debut this year on the first of September, at the age of 28.
Despite spending all month in Oakland, though, Taylor only made it into seven games and rarely got a chance to bat. He reached base once on a walk, but he was yet to find that elusive first hit, even after facing the 60 mph stylings of Angels catcher Francisco Arcia in the 21-3 blowout at the Coliseum. Finally, on the last day of the regular season, he came in to pinch-hit in the 5th inning, and this time he came through against Despaigne in his fifth career plate appearance.
There were some theatrics on the way from first base to second, but that won’t show up in the box score. The Great Spreadsheet will only remember that Taylor notched an honest-to-goodness major league hit. Fortunately, he was able to laugh about his stumble while still enjoying the achievement. Here’s his post-game interview:
Beau Taylor postgame reaction on his first career MLB hit...while literally biting the dust on his way to second base pic.twitter.com/DDv7SAt79j— A's on NBCS (@NBCSAthletics) September 30, 2018
And a couple quotes.
Beau Taylor, when I asked him about his faceplant on his first big league hit, "Oh no....did you see that?" (laughter)— Susan Slusser (@susanslusser) September 30, 2018
Beau Taylor on his first career hit (and tumble around first): "I'm gonna remember that forever. ... Everyone was laughing and cheering me on. ... The umpire was right away with the 'sniper' and everything, pointing up in the stands exactly where it was at." #Athletics— Ben Ross (@BenRossSports) September 30, 2018
The left-handed hitter finishes his debut season with the following line, in six plate appearances: 1-for-5, double, walk, 2 strikeouts.
Taylor has come a long way since being suspended for Adderall in 2017. The team loves him and so do the pitchers, reported Susan Slusser of the S.F. Chronicle during the spring, and his Triple-A career features a strong .364 OBP thanks to his ability to take a walk. Considering how thin the organization is in catching, especially after the disappointing drop-off of fellow lefty batter Bruce Maxwell, perhaps we’ll see more of Taylor in the future.
For now, though, let’s not get ahead of ourselves. A franchise mainstay finally got his long-awaited moment in the sun, and that’s the story of the day. Congrats to Beau!