Editor's note: This article originally appeared in The Daily Texan on July 20, 2011. Former Longhorns catcher Taylor Teagarden, profiled here, helped Texas win a national championship in 2005 and will play in Saturday's Alumni Game.
Those who attend minor league baseball games are usually unfamiliar with the players they watch, but there is one name that piques fans’ interest when it’s called at the Dell Diamond.
“You get some UT fans out there in the stadium, and I get some extra cheers when my name gets called,” said Round Rock Express catcher Taylor Teagarden. “It’s pretty cool to see that people still remember me. It says a lot about UT fans in general, and how much the University impacts people.”
When J. Brent Cox finished off the Florida Gators in the 2005 College World Series, it was Teagarden that caught the championship-clinching strike three. Now, Teagarden is catching for the Express pitching staff. Following a three-week stint with the Texas Rangers, Teagarden is back in Round Rock, minutes from where he played college baseball. He’s helping the Express hang on to a division lead that currently stands at eight games.
“I’m having a blast here,” Teagarden said. “This is one of the best clubhouses I’ve ever been a part of. There’s a lot of talent, a lot of leadership and a lot of veteran guys here. We’re winning games. Hopefully we’ll keep this up and make a nice little playoff run.”
Teagarden hit .318 during his most recent trip to the big leagues, saving his best game for last when he went 3-for-5 with two doubles July 1 against Florida. Since being sent back to Triple A Round Rock on July 4, however, Teagarden has just four hits in 31 at-bats. On June 5, he boasted a .355 batting average with the Express. Teagarden is still hitting a respectable .281, but may need to recall some lessons he learned while in a Longhorn uniform to break out of his slump.
“[Playing at Texas] let me know that I’m a winner and I can survive any challenge,” Teagarden said. “Baseball’s a game of failure. I experienced that a little bit and figured out how to overcome it, how to work hard and improve myself. It taught me how to approach baseball and the game of life.”
Before Teagarden was called up June 12, the Express were a half game back in the PCL American South Division. When he was sent back to Round Rock, they were seven games ahead of Albuquerque. If the Express stay on top of their division through the end of the regular season, they’ll be in the playoffs and in pursuit of a championship.
Good thing they have Teagarden behind the plate. Thanks to his days at Texas, he knows a thing or two about winning championships.
Printed on 07/21/2011 as: Teagarden brings local flair to Round Rock clubhouse