Tim Baylor standing proudly in front of one of his McDonald’s franchised restaurants in Minnesota. Like so many black athletes as soon as they get two-dollars more than family and friends and gain a little fame, they forget who they are and where they came from. They came through Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports by the dozens.
Tim Baylor, a Morgan State bear who slept and hibernated his whole adult life and forgot who he was and where he came from!
He grew up on 12th Street, NW in the heart of the inner-city. He was caught between Cardozo High School and Ben’s Chili Bowl and a five-minute walk from his house to Harris playground and the Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program. I found the program in 1968 after the riots had almost destroyed DC. His mom and dad were two jewels. They loved me, Mrs. Baylor always had a kind word, Mr. Baylor was a man of few words or no words.
Tim Baylor, Godmother holding my Goddaughter Amber, Mrs. Baylor, me and his wife Doris.Tim Baylor talks with neighborhood youth two blocks from where he grew up on the U Street NW corridor (Washington Star newspaper)Santa’s helper Tim Baylor helps me distribute toys during Kids In Trouble annual toy party at the J. W. Marriott in Arlington, Virginia
I encouraged Tim to come back home and enhance the growth of kids in his old neighborhood in the U Street NW corridor, during and after the NFL. He moved to Minnesota and never looked back or came back when it really made a difference. Tim Baylor modeling in one of my Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Shows at the Chapter II night club in SW DC
Tim receiving the Kids In Trouble Community Service Award during the Inside Sports Celebrity Fashion Show at the Grand Hyatt in downtown DC. Calvalier’s Mens CLothing store owner Norman Orleans makes presentation. I kept Tim in the community spotlight to inspire other youth, but he dropped the ball.
I was the wide receiver coach for Cardozo High School in the 1967-68-69 football seasons. Head coach Bob Headen recruited me and several other minor league football players to help him coach the Clerks. The Virginia Sailors was a super talented minor league team for the Washington Redskins. We won several minor league championships. We were the talk of the town and not the Washington Redskins they could not win a game. The swimming coach at Cardozo High School, Hattie Thomas my future wife.
Virginia Sailor teammates, John Cash, Bob Headen and me celebrate our first minor league football championship in Reston, Virginia.
Virginia Sailors celebrate again in Ladd Stadium, in Mobile Alabama. I am No. 82
I am telling Sailor QB John Thomas (No. 12), “I am open man just throw me the dam ball.” John reminded me of Russell Wilson (NFL).
Tim was a decent wide-receiver for the Cardozo football team. He had a decent pair of hands but was slow of foot. He ran great passing routes which made up for his lack of speed (much like me). I made him understand that the wide-receiver always had the advantage over the defensive back. The reason, the defensive back had to guess where the wide-receiver was going, being able to run great pass routes would be a nightmare for any defensive back. I learned to run pass patterns from watching the great Baltimore Colt wide receiver Ray Berry. He had one leg shorter than the other.
Tim’s NFL career was limited after “The Ghost to the Post” mistake in 1977. The Colts let him go and he was picked up by the Minnesota Vikings. He played two-years for them and retired at the ripe old age of 26! https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nPIGg6iu80E
A lot of credit for Tim making the Colt’s roster goes to the assistant coach who saw he stood 6’6 and had a decent pair of hands and his long frame would an asset. He moved him to nickel-back and defensive safety. Today he is still the tallest defensive back to ever play in the NFL, but “The Ghost to the Post” will be his NFL claim to fame. All-Pro TE Dave Casper caught three TDs in that conference championship game. The biggest catch was made against Tim Baylor with 2:17 seconds left in the game. The Colts were leading 31-24 when All-Pro QB Ken “The Snake” Stabler threw a third-down pass to Casper behind Tim for a gain of 42 yards and a first down. Casper would later catch a 10 yard TD in the left corner of the end zone to send the game into double overtime. The defending World Champions would win 37-31. It was one of the best playoff games I have ever witness. Tim has nothing to be ashamed of Stabler and Casper are both in the NFL Hall of Fame (he is to-on tape).
The key is how he played The Game Called Life before and after the NFL–Life is the most important game being played in the world today!
First, you must remember Tim Baylor’s story is similar to the Sugar Ray Leonard story. He was also the benefactor of Kids In Trouble and Inside Sports (Harrison Rec, Hillcrest Sat. Program and Cardozo HS football team). Much like Ray, I remember when he didn’t have two-pennies to rub together.
When Tim moved his family to Minnesota my Goddaughter Amber was two or three years old. He told Thurston McLain one of his childhood friends and another benefactor of KIT, “Harold never comes to see his Goddaughter!” The reason I never came to see my Goddaughter was because of the logistics (1100 miles from DC to Minnesota). He was talking as if they were still living in Baltimore (30 miles away). I asked Thurston, ‘Why didn’t he call me with his concerns?’ Thurston just shook his head!
Tim would bring his family to DC to visit his parents. I would be the last to know. When I was in the neighborhood I would stop by his parents’ house. His mom would often say, “You just missed Tim he was here last week.”
I would hear through “The Grapevine” how successful he had become as a businessman/entrepreneur (he owns several McDonald’s Restaurants, real estate holdings, etc). Politics was his other game to include, Minnesota Chamber of Commerce, and he made an unsuccessful run for Lt. Governor.
Man, that is a success story in anyone’s lifetime, especially, a brother from ‘The Hood’. Somewhere along the way, he fell short of becoming a MAN!
The family should always be first, Tim never made his brother Sonny or Sonny’s three sons, Andre, Greg and Lorenzo, first. All three young men were outstanding student/athletes. They all played for one of my mentees, Coach Robert Richards at Cardozo High School. Coach Richards started his coaching career at Harrison Playground and the Hillcrest Saturday Program (my domain). His uncle Earl Richards is one of the greatest all-around athletes in DC sports history. Earl was one of my early heroes (Parkside Housing projects). We later became teammates on the Virginia Sailors.
Earl Richards No. 50 was a player/coach for the Sailors and he was definitely ahead of his time (NFL Center/LB). No 28 Mike Summer played for Wilson High School, and George Washington University. He was drafted as an RB in the second round by the Washington Redskins.
The Baylor family foundation was laid by Mr. and Mrs. Baylor, Sonny and Tim’s father and mother. It was nothing unusual to see Grand Dad and Grand Mother sitting in the Cardozo stands watching their grandchildren play. Uncle Tim was nowhere to be found during their entire high school football life at his alma mater. All three were outstanding and intelligent athletes (QBs) and all three graduated from high school. Andre graduated from Cheney State University and came back home to teach and coach. Greg attended Virginia Union University for a couple of years and was the starting QB before coming back home to take a job with the Alexandria Fire Department. KIT alumnus Captain Thurston McLain led him to this job opportunity, its called reaching back. Lorenzo got caught up in the bright lights of street life (drugs) and served time in jail, but has since got his life together and the last I heard he was working two jobs.
I remember Lorenzo’s trials and tribulations with drugs, Leo Hill was Sonny’s brother-in-law. Leo brought to my attention that family members were trying to get in touch with Tim to help get Lorenzo out of jail, but I was no help. There was no response from Tim, except a rumor, he said, “If he did the crime, he must do the time!”
Andre’s success as a student/athlete was the crown jewel of the neighborhood. Growing up he spent much of his time between Harrison Playground and the Hillcrest Saturday Program. He decided to attend McKinley Tech but transferred to Cardozo when Robert Richards became the head football coach. In 1997 Andre was an assistant football coach at John Carroll HS while playing pick-up basketball he had a heart attack and died. He was 29-years old. Tim came home for the funeral.
Lacey O’Neal was a sprinter on the 1964 Summer Olympic team. She competed in the 80-meter hurdles and spoke out against the proposed boycott of the 1968 Olympic Games in Mexico City. Sprinters Tommie Smith and John Carlos made the games forever memorable when they went to the podium barefooted to accept their medals, they raised their black-gloved fist in the air to protest racism in America. They were banished from the Olympic Village but became and still are heroes in Black America. A statue of their likeness holding black fisted gloves in the air can now be found on the campus of their alma mater, San Jose University in California.
In 1998 Lacey O’Neal brought to my attention while she was attending a tribute for pro athletes in New Jersey Tim Baylor gave her some “Fake News” out of the blue. He told her and I quote, “You know Harold Bell has been stealing money from the kids.” For the past 22 years he has since been traveling from Minnesota to DC under a cover of darkness making sure he is not in my space. He travels with a group of chicken kiss-ass cheerleaders running the point for him with pom-poms under their coats ready to cheer at any given moment he comes into their space in DC.
What really pissed me off with Tim making a statement like that was he has never made a donation or brought a toy, send a kid to camp or college, the entire time he was associated with Kids In Trouble. I never received a grant or loan from anyone in the 45 year lifetime of my non-profit organization.
I worked as a Roving Leader (DC Department of Recreation) and use my salary I received playing for the Virginia Sailors to help pay for the trips out of town to the John Chaney & Sonny Hill’s basketball camp in Philly, to Bighouse Gaines & Earl Monroe’s basketball camp on the campus of my college alma mater, Winston-Salem State University (HBCU). Cathy Hughes and her son Alfred (TV One) was also a benefactors of those camps and Nike apparel. My Christmas toy parties had Santa’s Helpers with names like Zack, Philadephia Jake, Dog Turner, Slippery Jackson, Black Danny, Cornell, and Nook. The one donation Kids In Trouble did receive was when Redskin running back Larry Brown was named the MVP in the NFL in 1972. He appeared on the NBC Bob Hope Comedy Hour and Hope presented him with a $5,000 check earmarked for a charity of his choice. His choice was the Kids In Trouble Hillcrest Children’s Center Saturday Program. Hillcrest was controlled by Children’s Hospital and they put the check in their general fund and I or the kids never saw a penny. Could that be the money I stole?
KIT ANNUAL TOY PARTY: Johnny Sample (NFL), Inside Sports producer Rodney Brown and Santa’s Helper Philadelphia Jake.
I have been trying to catch up with Tim Baylor for 22 years to get him to verify whose money I was stealing! I would like to be a fly on the wall when he tries to explain this blog to his children, my Goddaughter Amber and his son Justin and their children. I am told Amber is an attorney and Justin is expected to take over the family business. When it comes to the community and reaching back to help family and the down-trodden, I hope they don’t follow in their father’s footsteps. I am known and read around the globe so they will eventually see this blog somewhere in their travels.
I guess once he grows up and becomes the MAN his parents raised him to be–he will give me a call, but I am not holding my breath. There is too much Sugar Ray Leonard in him and too many of his ass-kissing blocking cheerleaders running interference. Hillcrest legends starting 5 Johnny Robinson, Michael G, Tyrone Shorter and DC Playground Legend, Tracy Robinson the leader of the pack.Tim’s little sister Cathy is the cheerleader in the center at Community Day at the Hillcrest Saturday Program. The program was a Family Affair.
In the meantime, the success stories that have come off of Harrison Playground and out of the Saturday Program read like a Who’s Who, Thurston McLain, (Captain Alexandria Fire Department), Coach Robert Richards (winner of DC Public HS football championship 1996), Tracy Robinson (playground basketball legend), Lonnie Taylor (the first black chief of staff for a white Congressman on The Hill), and the dozens of Harrison Elementary School, Harrison Playground and Hillcrest Saturday Program participants who went to become decent human beings. Neighborhood boy who made good, Ricky Williams is now a Minister and has been active in the community reaching back to help those who lost their way (homeless, incarceration, drugs, etc. Evelyn Cureton was a Saturday Program participant and she now has her Masters Degree in Psychology. They both were instrumental in assisting me in completing my Muhammad Ali documentary. The documentary made its debut on the big screen on November 24, 2019 at the Miracle Theatre on Capitol Hill, 45 years after the Ali Rumble in the Jungle interview in 1974. Billy ‘Buck’ Johnson a member of the Hillcrest football and basketball teams ran afoul of the court system, but turned his life around and is working for the DC Central Food Kitchen feeding the hungry and homeless for the past six-years. I thank all of them for reaching back on this day (April 4th) marking the 52nd anniversary of the assassination of our Prince of Peace–Dr. Martin Luther King.