Waycross-Ware County Sports Hall of Fame

Loy Lee (Fats) Taylor
Inducted 1993
He was born September 12, 1911 and died October 15, 1976. His love for baseball began in his sandlot days in Gilchrist Park and continued in his teenage years to another Waycross landmark “Old Nine.” His father, who moved to Old Nine, organized a baseball team of teenagers which included Taylor, and he carried them to baseball games in an old homemade trailer hooked to his car.
As an adult, he continued to pay the game he loved while working for the Atlantic Coastline Railroad. His position on the team was always that of catcher. His short, plump, Babe Ruth type framed earned him the nickname “Fats” early in his adult like. This nickname stuck with him throughout the remainder of his life.
In the early 1930’s he played fast pitch softball in the Atlantic Coastline YMCA Diamond Ball League. He was a catcher on the Atlantic Coastline team that won the league championship in 1935.
The earliest recorded date of his participation in semi-pro baseball was in 1937 when he was one of the original members of the Woodmen of the World sponsored baseball team that played in the newly organized Dixie Pine Coastal Leagues. It was hoped that this team would establish organized ball in Waycross. This didnot occur, and the following year (1938) Taylor organized a semi-pro baseball teach called the Waycross All-Stars and was a player/manager.
In 1941 and 1942 Taylor was the player/manager of the YMCA Coastline baseball club that played other amateurs and independent teams throughout South Georgia and North Florida. Their home games were played on the YMCA Field.
The Bears, a Class D baseball team in the Georgia-Florida League, played in Waycross from 1939-42. This team did not play in this part of the United States in 1943 because of the war conditions. The Waycross Volunteers, a semi-pro team managed by Taylor, took its place.
Taylor felt baseball fans had been educated to night baseball during the four years of the Georgia-Florida League played by the Waycross Bears. He felt the fans wanted their 1943 semi-pro team to play night games under the lights. Manager Taylor worked out the financial wrinkles and semi-pro ball was played under the lights at Newton Field in May, 1943.
Taylor is probably best remembered in his final role as the Manager of the Waycross Atlantic Coastline Red Sox baseball team. Throughout the remainder of the 1940’s and into the 1950’s, he managed the railroad sponsored team which was made up of locals, former Class D players, and former serviceman that stayed in Waycross after World Ware II.
Throughout his adult life, Taylor was an avid organizer and supporter of semi-pro baseball for the working man, He was equally supportive of the Waycross Bears and the efforts to Keep Class D baseball in Waycross.
After retiring as manager of the Atlantic Coastline Red Sox, he continued his other great pastime, fox and cat hunting. He enjoyed the association of fellow sportsmen in listening to their hounds in hot pursuit of a fox or wildcat. He continued this activity until his death.