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A daughter’s memories of dad, ballfields (audio)

Her dad’s funeral was days away, but Kristi Taylor hadn’t found a church for the service yet.

What about a ballfield?

Scott Taylor’s daughter smiled.

“He’d love that,” Kristi said.

It’d be fitting.

Scott Taylor spent his life on the ballfield as a player and as a coach.

Those who mourned him Saturday at Trinity United Methodist Church remember the 54-year-old that way.

His only child’s cherished memories are no different.

G.T. Bray park.

Kiker Stadium.

Hawkins Stadium.

They comprise the backdrop of their lives together.

Sitting on a dugout wall at G.T. Bray as a little girl, watching dad play softball.

Being swept up in his arms after the Southeast Seminoles, where Scott was offensive coordinator, had won again in football.

Keeping the scorebook for Manatee High baseball games when he was the Hurricanes skipper.

“I’ve been told many times Dad would be walking up to the softball field and here I am, just able to walk, trying to keep up with him,” said Kristi, 26.

She was dad’s little girl.

Even when she wasn’t little anymore.

It was a bit of a pickle, attending MHS and taking stats for dad’s ballgames.

“One boy asked me on a date,” Kristi said. “My father found out and proceeded to make the boy run until he got sick. That was the message sent out to all the boys on the baseball team:

“You don’t mess with coach’s daughter.”

Not that Kristi didn’t have fun at dad’s expense.

Scott pitched two years in the minors with the Braves and Yankees before his arm blew out.

One day he showed off his stats, thinking she’d be impressed.

“I go, ‘Your walk ratio is more than your strikeout ratio,’” Kristi said. “He goes, ‘I need to quit teaching you how to talk baseball.’ ”

Too late for that.

Scott had named her after legendary pitcher Christy Mathewson, who was one of the Baseball Hall of Fame’s first inductees in 1936 with Babe Ruth, Honus Wagner, Ty Cobb and Walter Johnson.

“His favorite player,” Kristi said. “It’s part of my life.”

Her dad’s legacy.

Mannix About Manatee, by columnist Vin Mannix, is about people and issues in Manatee Count. Please call Vin Mannix at 745-7055, write him at Bradenton Herald, P.O. Box 921, Bradenton, FL 34206 or e-mail him at vmannix@bradenton.com. Please include a phone number for verification purposes.

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