Yakima Radio Legend Interviews Baseball Legend
Growing up in Yakima and being fascinated by the radio, I cannot remember a time when I wasn’t familiar with the voice of Frank Taylor.
Likewise, as a dyed-in-the-wool “seamhead,” I don’t recall a day in my life that I was not a fan of the Great American Game — baseball.
It was the great Hall of Fame baseball broadcaster Dave Niehaus calling Seattle Mariners games that inspired me to want to make a career in the radio broadcasting industry. Shortly before graduating from West Valley High School in the summer of 1989, I got my first paying radio gig.
Fast forward nine years. It was December of 1998 when KATS merged with another local radio station owner, thus consolidating six radio stations into one building. Those stations were 107.3 KFFM and heritage oldies station 1460-AM KMWX. Frank Taylor did the morning show on WX ! I was so excited to get to finally work with a “jock” (radio speak for “D.J.”) whom I had grown up listening to and then admired once I too became a professional.
Unfortunately, our first day of working together under the same roof was Mr. Taylor’s last day on the air. Ever.
I was bummed out. Really bummed out.
I had genuinely looked forward to getting to know him. Pick his brain. Learn the tricks of the trade he had under his belt from a legendary career on the airwaves in Yakima.
It just wasn’t meant to be.
Fast forward to present day. Through the magic of social media, I have been able to connect with the great Frank Taylor and, maybe, make up for that lost opportunity.
A few weeks ago, I had the chance to do a phone interview with Ken Griffey, Sr. When I posted the interview on this website and subsequently on my personal Facebook page, Frank was the first to give me a pat on the back. He also sent me an interview he did in person back in the summer of 1994 with baseball Hall of Fame manager Tommy Lasorda. Tommy was in town to watch some of the prospects playing for the now-defunct Yakima Bears, who were then affiliated with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Tommy had time to do so as the Major League Baseball Players Union had gone on strike (eventually leading to the cancellation of the rest of the season — including the World Series.)
To say it was a treat to hear Frank’s voice on the air again would be an understatement. To listen to that time capsule — complete with references to my old friend and Bears G.M. Bob Romero — with another one of my most favorite icons, Tommy Lasorda, makes me appreciate even more all of the God-given passions — “gifts,” if you will — in life that I have been afforded.
If you are a longtime Yakimanian or simply a fan of the National Pastime, I hope you enjoy this archived interview as much a I did.