The Texas Rangers organization displayed enormous class yesterday when they drafted paralyzed UGA outfielder Jonathan Taylor in the 33rd round of the 2011 MLB Draft.
Taylor was paralyzed when he suffered a broken neck after a collision with fellow outfielder Zach Cone. The game occurred on March 6 in Athens against Florida State. He is currently an outpatient at the Shepherd Center in Atlanta.
Texas Rangers director of amateur scouting Kip Fagg said “we thought selecting Johnathan was the right thing to do” and “we would have drafted him either way, regardless of any other circumstances involving his injury or Zach’s (Cone) draft status. Our area scout in Georgia, Ryan Coe, has had a relationship with Johnathan since he was a high school player. The club has always liked his passion and ability as a player.”
The Georgia Bulldogs baseball team visited Taylor at the Shepherd Center on May 23 prior to the SEWC Tournament. Taylor told the team that if they made it to Saturday, he would be there for the game. The Diamond Dawgs made it to Saturday, and JT was on hand to witness a 4-3 win over the Florida Gators.
“This was truly a classy move and a great gesture on the part of the Texas Rangers organization,” said Georgia coach David Perno. “J.T. is definitely a player worthy of getting drafted. He’s been a big part of our program, and we are all very excited for him. When I talked to him after he got the call, he was in the middle of his rehabilitation work, laughing and having a good time and was thrilled to be drafted.”
Taylor, a native of Acworth, Ga., is the son of Tandra and John Taylor. Johnathan has appeared in 117 games in his Bulldog career including 91 starts. He owns a .312 career batting average. A Consumer Economics major, he was named to the SEC Freshman Academic Honor Roll in 2009 and the UGA Athletic Director’s Honor Roll in 2010.
“We’re all very proud of him,” said Tandra Taylor. “It’s just amazing, and when he got the call, his face lit up, and we were all very excited. It was awesome news.”
Fans can donate to the Johnathan Taylor Fund through the UGAA website, georgiadogs.com, An account has been set up at First American Bank and Trust (FAB). Donations can be mailed to the following account or dropped off at any FAB location.
First American Bank and Trust, c/o Johnathan Taylor Fund, P.O. Box 1688, Athens, Ga., 30603.
A website where individuals can send Johnathan messages and check for updates has been set up by the family. To send an online note to Johnathan and the family, please visit: