At the age of 64, no one has to tell Jerry Taylor what the National Baseball Congress World Series means to him. Normally, after spending 30 years teaching history and government in various school systems including Wichita East, Wichita South, Wichita Northwest, and Wellington High School as well as serving such in roles as head football coach and athletic director, one would start to think about winding down and enjoying the good life. During the summer of 2001, Jerry resisted the opportunity to sit on his tail every day and instead began a new chapter as the Tournament Director of the National Baseball Congress World Series.
?I remember this older gentlemen coming up to me on opening night of the 2001 World Series after the fireworks had gone off and play resumed. He asked what he could do to help,? said President and GM of the NBC, Josh Robertson. ?I asked him who he was and what he was doing here and he told me he was part of the WSU class that was helping with the tournament.? Robertson continued, ?I told him we needed the firework wadding?s picked up off of the outfield and put him on the lawn mower with the basket catchers at two o?clock in the morning. That was his first two-hour duty for the National Baseball Congress. Jerry came in with me and will forever be one of my best friends. It was a pleasure serving with him for many years and I am honored to be a part of this very well deserved accomplishment.?
Following the 2001 NBC, former Vice President and GM, Steve Shadd, decided to hire Jerry as the Tournament Director. He maintained the position until his retirement following the 2010 season. In addition to being the NBC Tournament Director, Jerry also had various duties with the Wichita Wranglers and Wichita Wingnuts. His efforts often took many forms of physical and mental preparation during the World Series. As Tournament Director, his job duties included bracketing the tournament, sending out team packets, ordering baseballs, facilitating the Hall of Fame and Graduate of the Year voting, scheduling volunteers, answering phones, ordering trophies, talking to media, settling disputes, communicating with scouts and umpires, updating the website, coping with mother nature and last, but not least, rarely eating or sleeping for fifteen days every summer.
Jerry, who was born in Liberal, Kansas and graduated from Wichita State University, is an old-school man to whom a handshake means everything. He is a straight-talking, no-nonsense, blue-collar man with incredible generosity. These characteristics were on display at all times, whether he was helping the Lions Club set up the pancake feed at 5:30 in the morning during Baseball Around the Clock weekend or taking time out of his day to simply talk bracketology with some fans during the wee hours of the tournament. Jerry spent nearly half of his life coaching and educating young minds. Following his days at the high school level, he went on to coach football at Bethel College, Friends University and just this year helped the Wichita Wild Indoor Football team win their second consecutive CPIFL Championship in June.
Jerry never shied away from who the real boss in the family was. He always gave his wife Deb full credit for being the glue that held his family together. During all of the time that Jerry spent coaching, attending sporting events, and directing the NBC, Deb was busy changing diapers, taking kids to practice and sporting events, helping with homework, putting the kids to bed and dealing with the daily drama of being a parent. To top it all off she was also a full-time registered nurse. He always said it took a very special spouse to deal with the time commitments that are required from a person working in sports. Deb?.Thank you!
Jerry?s children, Jamie, Zach, and Joel had some words they wanted to express to their father on this special occasion. From Joel and Zach: ?Dad has always been a winner! He has won championships at every level he has coached. He was always willing to do whatever it took to be successful. Even as busy as he was, he always made time for family. He always tried to please others and put everyone else first. He has always believed that sports can truly help children succeed in life and he loves eating at the Wichita Fish Market off of Douglass.?
From his oldest and only daughter Jamie: ?I was an ornery child growing up and dad?s constant drive with us in sports helped us get through a lot of rough times. Although he missed some family functions while coaching and directing the NBC, we always knew he loved us and would always be there for us. Nothing was more important than family. For me personally, it was an honor to grow up and see my father do something that he loved for so many years because there are not a lot of people that can say that.?
It is apparent how seriously Jerry took his relationship with the NBC from the way he looks now to the picture on the video board. We always knew he wanted to be like JD Schneider from the El Dorado Broncos. On a serious note, on behalf of the National Baseball Congress we are honored to present this Hall of Fame Plaque to Jerry Taylor who is standing proudly with his wife Debra, daughter Jamie, grandchildren Finn and Evelyn, son Joel, son Zach who could not be here tonight as he is a member of the front office of the Winston-Salem Dash, an affiliate of the Chicago White Sox, mother Mardel, sister Carla, in-laws Bill and Marles Byers, uncle Junior and aunt Minthy, brother-in-law Mike and nephew Gage, niece Lyndsey and her children Kambrie, Kensie and Kelby.