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, is charged with selling “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 was in court the next day, Captain Jason Wank said in an e-mail. Taylor remains in Carteret County Jail under $275,000 bond and his next court appearance is scheduled for March 23, Wank said.
Taylor is charged with a total of 15 counts, including possession with intent to manufacture, sell and deliver cocaine, according to the sheriff’s office release.
His request for a court-appointed lawyer was denied by the judge and he is required to hire his own counsel, which he has yet to do, Wank said. There is no legal representative contact on file for Taylor, Joy Gillikin, assistant Carteret County Court clerk, said in a telephone interview. A telephone number listed for Taylor and his mother was disconnected.
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.