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Story Archives: Jim Taylor shares stories
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|Jim Taylor shares stories|
Jim Taylor earned money as a 12-year-old delivering the Baton Rouge Morning Advocate.
It would not be long after that he would be gracing the sports pages of that newspaper.
The newspaper delivery was one of dozens of odd jobs Jim and his brothers Clark and Webb had as children.
They also sold tamales, cut yards and swept laundry facilities. They would make extra money by going to the back of Benny's Bar in downtown Baton Rouge, picking up empty beer bottles and then go to the front and sell them back to Benny.
The Taylor boys also sold peanuts and Cokes at LSU football games.
Years later, Jim would be more front and center, carrying a pigskin.
Taylor said the Cokes were in bottles and he would have to open the Coke and pour it into paper cuts. He would make about $10 a night working football games.
Taylor said they would go back to the stadium the next day and look under the bleachers looking for money that may have fallen out of fans' pockets.
Those intriguing stories and more make, "The Fire Within," Taylor's only autobiography, very enjoyable and memorable reading.
Taylor's father, Clark Taylor, was originally from Ferriday, while his mother, Alice, is from Woodville.
At the age of 15, Clark become inflicted with rheumatoid arthritis and he died of heart disease at the age of 57.
Taylor said his first love was basketball because without a father to throw the football with he would shoot baskets in the moonlight. He was All-State as a point guard at Baton Rouge High.
A coach at Baton Rouge High talked Taylor into playing football.
He blossomed as a senior, but still received more basketball scholarship offers than football. He chose football because LSU offered him a scholarship and the chance to stay close to home.
Taylor does not spend a lot of time in the book on his days at LSU. He spent his sophomore year at Hinds Junior College after his grades dropped, but returned to LSU and became one of the top backs in the nation. He was named All-American and MVP of the Senior Bowl after scoring more points (145 in two years) than any other LSU player since Steve Van Buren.
Taylor jumps quickly to his Green Bay days, beginning on page 17 with his contract from the Packers, which led to him being selected in the second round.
The book becomes even more intriguing with the hiring of Vince Lombardi seven pages later.
Taylor's 1,474 yards rushing in 1962 was not surpassed by a Packer until Ahman Green ran of 1,883 yards in 2003.
Following Taylor and Green Bay's rise to fame through the eyes of the Hall of Fame fullback is an enjoyable ride.
There are many memorable Green Bay stories and Taylor touches on his one year with the New Orleans Saints.
There are great anecdotes about Lombardi, Bart Starr, Paul Hornung (who smoked two Marlboros during halftimes), Ray Nitchske and many other Packers.
There are two great quotes I love from the book.
This from Lombardi, "Our greatest glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall."
And this one from Taylor, "If you accept being a loser, that's what you are going to be. It's that thing inside of you that can make you a winner. It's not the legs that gain the yards."
Starr wrote the forward to the book, mentioning that Taylor was one of the few players to utilize weight training and isometrics in his daily regimen, saying LSU was one of the few colleges to do so at the time.
Jerry Kramer gave us great insight into the magical 1967 Green Bay Super Bowl II season with his book, "Instant Replay."
Jim Taylor gives us a great insight to a magical time of championships won before the second Super Bowl. It's definitely a super read.
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