Tuscaloosa native Taylor Jackson takes her love for baseball to the big leagues
By WVUA-23 Sports Reporter Grace Brister
Taylor Jackson, a former volunteer assistant baseball coach at Shelton State, is taking her love for baseball to the big leagues.
Jackson joined the Red Sox High-A Affiliate, the Greenville Drive in South Carolina as a video and technology intern.
This season, she has gotten to help out as a member of the Shelton State baseball coaching staff, and even coach first base.
Before she helped out at Shelton State, she worked as a student-intern with the baseball teams at the University of Alabama and Louisiana Tech.
“Coaches along the way kind of poured into me, and they’ve all kind of helped me on my journey to becoming a coach and shown me that I can do it,” Jackson said. “I wouldn’t have this opportunity with the Red Sox without them helping me along the way.”
Her long term goal is to eventually become a baseball coach.
Jackson played little league baseball for 10 years for Northside. When she turned 15, she had to make a choice — whether to continue with baseball or try softball. She chose to stick with baseball.
Jackson failed to make the baseball team at Tuscaloosa County High School, which is one of several obstacles she faced as a female in the male dominated sport.
“Looking back, I was always the only girl, but I always kind of liked it as well,” Jackson said. “I kind of saw it as a challenge and thrived off of that. I never really saw it as trying to break a barrier. It was just more like I love baseball and want to play baseball.”
She said that her love for baseball came from people she looked up to, such as former Atlanta Braves player Chipper Jones and her father, John Jackson, who played college baseball at Shelton State and the University of Alabama.
Jackson’s father encouraged her and taught her how to play. He said that she would not take ‘no’ for an answer when it came to her involvement in the sport of baseball.
“It’s surreal seeing her coach first base at Shelton after I played at Shelton,” said Jackson’s father, John. “As a father, I couldn’t be more proud of her just because I watched her go through the process of getting a job with the Red Sox.”
John Jackson said that the gender barrier was something he had never thought about, and it has been hard for him to not push her in an easier direction.
“It has been difficult and opened my eyes to see what she has had to go through to get a job in this profession,” John Jackson said. “I’m so proud of her.”
Her dad said that she grew up saying she wanted to play Major League Baseball. “It’s kind of funny that she’s ending up there,” John Jackson said.
John Jackson said that when his daughter was growing up, she constantly wanted to go outside and throw the baseball.
“When she was growing up, if she didn’t have anybody to throw with, the entire back of our house would just shake,” John Jackson said. “After a little while, we realized it was actually Taylor throwing a baseball against the house.”
Jackson said that what keeps her going is having confidence in what she knows, and not getting discouraged.