Taylor, Arthur (Artie) (2014)
As a young man in Rumford, Artie Taylor was one of those who was destined o become an icon of Maine Town Team baseball. Little did he know that when he, as a 4th grader, would catch batting practice for the Rumford Town Team in exchange for a few swings at bat, he would become hooked on the sport and it would be forever in his blood. When he would come home after catching batting practice, his grandmother would soak Artie’s hands and would always say, “Why do you let them hurt you like this?” But, she didn’t know that he was already in love with the game.”
Artie went on to play little league and pony league then Legion ball for a team in Bethel where he played with Merle White. Merle’s comments about Artie were, “After having played professional baseball for ten years, I think I’m a good judge of talent and Artie would rate at the top of the list for ability and leadership. When Taylor was an eighth grader, the varsity coach (MBHOF) Ray Baum at Stevens High School made arrangements so he could get out of school early, in order to practice with the team.
“I, again, would catch all of the batting practice, “ Taylor said. “ But, coach Baum would also make me participate in all of the team drills.”
Artie’s freshman year in high school, he played with the varsity and soon became the starting catcher. From that point on, their team won two league titles and the Class A Maine Championship vs. Stearns, in 1954, when Artie was a sophomore. One of the players on that Stearns team, Hall of Famer, -Marty Roop, said, “Artie won the game by holding the ball after leaving the mound, and picking the runner off 1st base, that would have been the winning run for us.”
In the summer of 1954, Artie would play for the Dixﬁeld Dixies then went to play for the Rumford Town Team for several years before going back to Dixﬁeld for many years. He was always asked by other teams to play for them at Pettingill Park in Auburn for the YABC championship and to go to Battle Creek, Michigan for the national championship if they should advance. Artie went with South Paris, Chi-Liv, Turner Townies and Winthrop to Battle Creek in the 50’s and 60’s. Calvin Gammon of Livermore, wrote in his letter about Artie, “He never threw me out trying to steal a base, because I knew better than to try. He may be the best catcher from Maine to have played the game.” Artie had an intensity for the game of baseball and he played that way. He was the leader on the ﬁeld and had the whole picture in front of him and moved people on defense to beneﬁt his team’s success. People who were not fortunate enough to watch Artie play, missed watching one of the best. He had a consummate love for the game of baseball. “Playing baseball in the Pine Tree League all those years was the best time in my baseball career,” Taylor said, who played for Rumford teams and the Dixfield Dixies in the 1950s and 1960s. “There were many good teams in that league and you could not let up on no matter who you put in the game.”
After playing for many years, Artie would coach the Rumford Town Team, little league, pony league and American Legion. With a family of four growing up around him, he decided, at the age of 37 and after 30 years devoted to baseball, that he would leave the game.
Over thirty years if Artie’s life was consumed by baseball whether it was playing, coaching or attending other games while his team was off for the night. He is the epitome of what Town Team baseball was in the 50’s and 60’s. In Artie’s words, “Playing baseball in the Pine Tree League all those years was the best time in my baseball career. Thinking back, to all of my baseball, all the players I played with and against, and all the friends I made in baseball, I never forgot to thank God for giving me the skills to play the game I loved so much.”