A Cautionary Tale

I remember Brien Taylor. He was quite possibly the most hyped baseball prospect ever – a can’t miss kid with a million-dollar arm headed to the Yankees.
I remember being somewhat disgusted by the demands of his family. They weren’t content with the Yankees’ initial offer of just over $300K for a signing bonus. They held out for more and eventually landed a stunning (at the time) signing bonus of $1.55 million. It seemed so greedy at the time.
I realize now that I was wrong. Taylor’s career started off in stellar fashion, but just a few years along his certain path to stardom he hit a pothole. A big one. He blew his shoulder out in a street fight and was never the same. He never pitched a single inning for the New York Yankees and now Brien Taylor works as a bricklayer in his hometown of Beaufort, NC. Holding out for that $1.55 mil seems like the smartest move in the world now.
It’s a sad story. Sure, he didn’t fall into the traps of drug addiction or petty crime that catch so many failed prodigies, but you have to wonder how often Taylor regrets that one decision to fight when he could have walked away.
On the other hand, with one swipe of his pen, he made more money as an 18-year-old than I’ve made so far in my entire career. Maybe I shouldn’t feel too badly for the guy. Still, Taylor’s story should be required reading for every kid out there who’s told that he’s going to be a star. It can all disappear in the blink of an eye.

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