Sunday, September 28, 2008

Otis Taylor

Recently, I've started having some nostalgic hankering for a vintage Otis Taylor K.C. Chiefs jersey. Then I started looking around on the googles to see if I was wanting something that was too expensive.

I ended up on Taylor's modest Wiki page, and was intrigued by the unlinked passage, "After a famous "baby-sitting" incident, in which Taylor "escaped" from NFL scouts, he was signed for the Chiefs by their legendary scout Lloyd Wells."

I did a little more looking around and wondered why this story and what I presume are other AFL vs NFL scouting/signing war stories haven't been made into a movie. Otis' can't be the only intriguing tale.

It was assumed that because of increased opportunities for black players in the AFL, and knowing Wells since he was a kid, Taylor would sign with KC, and so Wells traveled to Prairie View A&M in Texas to complete the contract. However, Wells left when he felt that it was a done deal (but not yet inked). Off to try and sign another player, the NFL scouts snuck in and talked Taylor into going for a ride to discuss his options. They took him from hotel to hotel, making public entrances as a misdirect and leaving out the back on motorcycles to another hotel.

Wells, who had anticipated some skulduggery, developed relationships with bell boys, maids and cooks in the area hotels, and tracked him to a hotel in Dallas. Wells takes off to meet with Otis Taylor. Hearing that his is in the dinning area of the hotel, he attempts to make contact with Otis and was almost arrested as a "prowler". Not deterred, he came back at 3:30am and tapped on Taylor's window and talked him into sneaking out, coming to KC and signing. Which is what he did, bringing Seth Cartwright with him and having an illustrious career with the Chiefs and ensuring that at least one white kid would always call out, "I'm number 89" when playing street ball in the KC suburbs.

Now I really want the jersey.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I am 89's biggest fan. Trying to get him in the hall. Add another white kid to your list. The best catcher of the ball ever in the nfl. Could play in today's game. Reebok put out a OT jersey 3 years ago so you should be able to find one. My fav Otis story, He came to Bellevue, NE Sears store to sign autographs in 1972 and I talked all week leading up to the day that I was going to shake his hand and tell him he was the best and become his best friend. Something happened and he was late an hour or 2 and my family was leaving, as I opened the door to leave Otis was coming in. My mom to this day tells me my bottom jaw dropped to the ground. He patted me on the head and said " thanks little man", I never said a word and I think I pee'd my pants. I stood in line for another hour got his signature and never said a word to him.