Harley (Hurricane) Taylor
Born: 1925 (Toronto)
Died: February 7, 2015 (Toronto)
Member: North Bay (Ont.) Sports Hall of Fame (1986)
Harley (Hurricane) Taylor was a top softball pitcher in Canada after the war. Coming out of the Toronto leagues, a job transfer took him to North Bay, Ont., where he would take local teams to provincial championships.
Taylor first appeared on the sports pages as a 17-year-old hurler for the West Toronto Invictus in 1943. The following year, after he enlisted in the war effort with the navy, Taylor was pitching for Ottawa Car. In two starts, he struck out 17 and won both games before being transferred to military duties on the east coast.
He returned to Toronto after the war, pitching for teams in the Mount Dennis neighbourhood.
When Glidden Paints assigned him to North Bay, he pitched the Palangio Dodgers to the provincial intermediate finals in 1952, only to lose to a team from Walkerton, Ont., in a driving rainstorm. The pitcher got his revenge the next year, twice defeating Walkerton, including a 3-1, 12-inning title game, to claim the championship.
In 1954, by now pitching for Parkview Hotel, Taylor pitched a one-hitter in the opening game, struck out 55 in 27 innings, but was eliminated at Meaford, Ont.
In 1955, Taylor won both games against Toronto CSF as his Belmont Hotel team won the Ontario intermediate-A title.
By the end of the decade, he was back in Toronto, pitching for Avon Sportswear in the Davisville loop, a senior-B circuit.
In 1978, Taylor became coach of the Etobicoke Selects, a suburban Toronto junior-B hockey team.