He made his move from amateur to professional in spectacular fashion competing in the famous six-day race at Madison Square Gardens. The race sponsors at first refused to allow Taylor to participate, suggesting that the place for a black man was ‘to shine the shoes of white people on Fifth Avenue’. But gradually the sponsors — who weren’t making much money in the less-popular sport of baseball, decided that the prospect of a race of whites against a single black would draw headlines and enormous crowds. So they gave him a license to participate in the six-day race, figuring that he, like many of the contestants, would drop out after a couple of days.
Major actually made his professional debut in a preliminary race before this main event. It was here he first faced and beat a rider who was to become one of his greatest rivals – Eddie ‘Cannon’ Bald. Widespread newspaper coverage of Taylor’s victory and the historic participation of a black racer in the main event helped swell the number of spectators from 5000 witnessing the heats, to a capacity crowd of more than 12000. NYC was in the midst of a newspaper circulation war and as a result the six-day race received immense coverage. In a twist of fate, Bald didn’t participate in the six-day race but he did… fire the starter’s pistol.