Dean Taylor: A Life Around the Ballfield

With only a month left until graduation, the  Claremont Colleges’ Class of 2011 will soon be off into the real world. Looking at the seniors, we see a bunch of brilliant 22 year olds. Many will have success in banking, others in the arts, and some with the media. Most forget, whilst huddled around a TV tuned to ESPN, that some of our classmates might very well be involved in our SportsCenter or Baseball Tonight updates somewhere down the road.

That’s what happened with Dean Taylor (CMC ’73). After hearing about Ohio University’s Sports Administration program, Dean left Claremont McKenna College hoping to one day work in an MLB front office. After graduating from the Sports Ad program in ’75, Dean began to climb his way to the top. After spending four years as a minor league GM, he joined the Kansas City Royals as an administrative assistant in their minor league department. Within a year he became the Assistant Director of Scouting and Player Development. In 1985, Kansas City won the World Series, and by the time the rings arrived in the spring, the Royals had named Dean “Assistant General Manager,” second in command to legendary GM, John Schuerholz. The duo stuck together until ’90, at which time Taylor left to become the Manager of Baseball operations in the Commissioner’s office and Schuerholz began his reign as the Atlanta Braves’ GM.

 

The following year, the Taylor-Schuerholz pair re-united in Atlanta, with Dean once again serving as John’s assistant. The Braves dominated the National League, missing only one set of playoffs in the nine years that Dean and John headed up the baseball operations department. They even celebrated the ten-year anniversary of their Royals’ World Series victory with  another, this time jumping, screaming, and spraying champagne about with their Atlanta squad.

Dean finally got the opportunity to be head honcho on September 21st, 1999, when the Milwaukee Brewers chose him to be their Senior VP of Baseball Operations and General Manager. During his three years with the Brewers organization, Taylor drafted the likes of J.J. HardyPrince Fielder, and Corey Hart. After his stint in the Badger State, Taylor consulted for the Dodgers in ’03, scouting major league players and evaluating a minor league system stocked with future big leaguers like Edwin JacksonFranklin Gutierrez, and Jonathan Broxton. After his year back in the land of his undergrad alma mater, Taylor once again made the CA-for-OH swap, joining the Cincinnati Reds as Assistant GM.

Two and a half years later, Dean returned to the organization that gave him his first opportunity in the league, the Royals. Along with GM Dayton Moore, the life-long Stag has developed the game’s strongest farm system, replete with top prospects like Mike MoustakasEric Hosmer, and Will Myers. With a farm system this strong, Dean and Dayton could be ushering in a revival of the Kansas City powerhouses that dominated in the 1980s.

Thirty-eight years ago, Dean Taylor was just a CMC student, picking up his final credits en route to an economics degree. Now, he’s won two World Series rings and personally knows folks like Prince FielderGreg Maddux, and—everyone’s favorite outfielder—Melky Cabrera. Dean will return to Claremont on April 17th for the Claremont Sports Connection's Sports Industry Day to talk about his career. He’ll be accompanied by Pete Arbogast (voice of the USC Trojans), Pedro Maura (ESPNLA contributor) and James Collins (VP of Ticket Sales for the Ontario Reign). Come down to the Edmunds Ballroom from 3:30-6:30pm on April 17th to hear from Dean and the rest of the panel members at the Claremont Sports Connection's Sports Industry Day. Who knows? Maybe you’ll be the next CMC alum to hoist a championship trophy above his head!

Kevin Seefried is a member of the Claremont Sports Connection. The Club meets every Sunday in Bauer 33 at 2:30pm.