Hawk Taylor’s time with the Milwaukee Braves came to an end in 1963, when he was traded to the New York Mets for the 1964 season. Before this season began, however, Hawk played Winter league baseball in Venezuela for the 1963-1964 season. Despite a five year long career in the major leagues, the little time Hawk had been able to play ensured his eligibility for the season, restricted to less-experienced professional players. Poor telecommunications between Venezuela and the United States meant that Hawk couldn’t call home to speak to Marie, pregnant with the first Taylor son Bruce. She didn’t worry—his calls would come through and ring before disconnecting, and she knew he was safe.

The same could not be said for Hawk’s mother, Mrs. Velma Taylor. The family in Metropolis had received terrible news—an athlete had been kidnapped and held for ransom in Venezuela. With no details available at the time, Mrs. Taylor feared the worst. As it turned out, Hawk was safe. The kidnapped athlete was Alfredo Di Stefano, famed Argentine soccer player for Real Madrid. He was briefly kidnapped for three days by the National Liberation Armed Forces of Venezuela, a rebel group backed by Fidel Castro and led by the Communist Party of Venezuela. Hawk’s letters finally got through, assuring Mrs. Taylor of his safety, and Marie gave birth to Bruce Taylor while Hawk was in Maracaibo.

Hawk played with the Mets from 1964 to 1967, and then played briefly for the California Angels in 1967 before finishing his Major League career with the Kansas City Royals from 1969 to 1970. With the Mets, Hawk set personal bests in hits and RBIs in 1964. Used often as a pinch hitter, he hit the first pinch-hit grand slam home run in Mets history on August 17 of 1966 against the Pittsburgh Pirates. During his time with Angels, he was managed once again by Fred Haney, his original manager from the 1957 Braves, and batted .308 that season. A brand new team, Hawk was drafted into the Kansas City Royals in December of 1968, and played 1969-1970. In 1970, he finished out his career with the Red Sox franchise playing as a fan favorite for the Minor League Louisville Colonels, where he had once played alongside his 1957 Braves teammate Joe Demerit in 1960.

1964 Liga Mexicana Canvas

1964 Liga Mexicana Canvas

Hawk Taylor Mets Outfielder Card

Hawk Taylor Mets Outfielder Card

Black and White Mets Promotional Headshot, Signed

Black and White Mets Promotional Headshot, Signed

Color Mets Promotional Headshot

Color Mets Promotional Headshot

Black and White Mets Promotional Headshot

Black and White Mets Promotional Headshot

Black and White Mets at Bat Promotional Photograph

Black and White Mets at Bat Promotional Photograph

Color Mets Bat Promotional Photograph

Color Mets Bat Promotional Photograph

Hawk Taylor Angels Catcher Card

Hawk Taylor Angels Catcher Card

Hawk Upends Bobby Knoop on Double Play

Hawk Upends Bobby Knoop on Double Play

Black and White Hawk Kansas City Royals Photograph

Black and White Hawk Kansas City Royals Photograph

"Royals Winning Run in Ninth Proves to Be Upsetting to Seattle," 1969

"Royals Winning Run in Ninth Proves to Be Upsetting to Seattle," 1969

Hawk Swings for the Kansas City Royals

Hawk Swings for the Kansas City Royals