By: Bob Elliott
Canadian Baseball Network
Canadian RHP Jameson Taillon makes his major league debut Wednesday night at PNC Park on the mound for the Pittsburgh Pirates against RHP Noah Syndergaard and the New York Mets.
James Paxton or Kellin Deglan?
Who will be the top Canadian selected when the annual draft of high schoolers and collegians begins Monday night?
How ‘bout Jameson Taillon?
The 6-foot-7, 230-pound right-hander, known simply as “Jamo” has displayed a 98 m.p.h. fastball pitching high school in The Woodlands, Tex., north of Houston. He’s rated the top high school player in North America by the majority of scouting directors.
And he’s a Canuck.
Mom, Christie Kormendy Taillon, was born and raised in the Lawrence Park area, near Upper Canada College.
Dad Michael Taillon (pronounced ‘tie-own’) grew up in St. Andrews West, 15 minutes north of Cornwall, Ont., south of Monkland and west of Martintown.
St. Andrews West is where Scottish settlers erected what the first catholic church and where explorer Simon Fraser is buried. As Michael Taillon grew up working summer jobs at Domtar in Cornwall and a cheese factory, it had a population of 500.
Christie and Mike both attended the University of Toronto, met, fell in love, graduated and life happened. They wed in 1978 and Mike answered a job application in a local paper looking for MBA grads. Two spots were open and American International Group hired him asking him to go Chicago for 18 months, which turned into four years.
Then, they returned to Canada, living in Burlington for four years until 1985.
“We lived on 353 Smith Street, a two-storey colonial, within walking distance of downtown and the lake,” Michael Taillon said the other day from Houston.
Again work with AIG took the family south and Jamo was born in Lakeland, Fla. while the Taillon’s lived in nearby Winter Haven.
“My son has Canadian citizenship, all our children do,” Mike said, “For Christie and I, that’s their history. My dad is in Cornwall, both our families are in Canada.
“We still love Canada It’s where we were born and raised. We wanted to give all our children the option when they become adults to consider Canada home, that’s the bottom line.”
The Taillon brood consists of: Justin, 28, at Texas A@M University, taking a doctoral program in environment; Jordan, 26, who attended Trinity University medical school and recently began his residency at Methodist Hospital in Brooklyn N.Y. and Jasmine, 21, a first-year, law school student at the University of Houston.
A doctor, a budding lawyer, doctoral studies and ... a ball player.
“We all tease Jamo,” Mike said. “I saw an interview once where Jamo said ‘my dad’s always asking where did we go wrong with Jamieson?”
Well, not too far actually. Jamo graduated Tuesday from The Woodlands, where Kyle Drabek went to school, with a 3.85 grade point average and has been accepted to Rice University, the Harvard of the south.
Pitching Team USA to a gold medal in the 2010 World Junior qualifier for Thunder Bay, he beat Cuba 6-1, striking out a program record 16 in 7 1/3 innings.
“As a family we stressed education,” Mike says, “athletically he’s gifted, but he has an incredible work ethic. I think in part from watching Jordan practice long hours to become a three-time, all-American in tennis.”
The Taillon family tree shows Jamo’s grandma Agnes Kormendy in Toronto, grandfather Raymond in Cornwall, godparents Paula and Bruce Shaw in Etobicoke, with aunts, uncles and cousins in Toronto, Oakville, St. Catharines, Collingwood, Kitchener, Lunenberg, Ont. and Montreal.
We admit to being slow, finding out about his Canadian roots within a week to the draft. Better now than a week from today.
So, Paxton of Ladner, B.C., Deglan of Langley, B.C. or Jamieson Taillon, of The Woodlands Tex. as the top Canadian?
“Absolutely he’s Canadian, Jamo is the top Canadian,” said proud papa Mike of his son with the strong right arm and stronger GTA/Eastern Ontario roots.