Brien Taylor, who received a then- record $1.6 million bonus after being chosen by the New York Yankees with the first pick in the 1991 Major League Baseball draft, was arrested last week on 15 drug-related charges.
He never got to the major leagues and hadn’t pitched in 12 years, his career deteriorating after he injured his throwing shoulder in a non-baseball-related fight in December 1993.
Taylor, 40, sold “a large quantity” of cocaine and crack cocaine to undercover narcotics agents over a period of several months, according to a statement from the Carteret County Sheriff’s Office in Beaufort, North Carolina.
A Beaufort resident, Taylor was arrested March 1 and in court the next day. He remains in Carteret County Jail under $275,000 bond, Captain Jason Wank said today in an e-mail. The case will be continued on March 23.
He was charged with a total of 15 counts, including possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine.
Rated the sport’s best prospect by Baseball America in 1992, Taylor was 19-15, with 337 strikeouts and a 3.02 earned- run average, in his first two seasons in Class A and Class AA.
Taylor dislocated his left shoulder and tore his labrum following the 1993 season when he confronted a man who earlier had fought with his brother. He missed the 1994 campaign following surgery, and never again advanced past Single-A in five minor league seasons. He last pitched with the Cleveland Indians’ affiliate in Columbus, Georgia, in 2000.
Taylor is one of two former No. 1 picks to retire from baseball without playing in the Major Leagues. Catcher Steve Chilcott, drafted first in 1966 by the New York Mets, played six minor league seasons before retiring.
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