Tragic news came from the Dominican Republic yesterday as it was announced that 22-year old Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend were killed in an auto accident. The details of the crash have been slow to come out but the sad news cast a pall over last night’s World Series Game 5 for many.
Taveras was signed by the St. Louis Cardinals in 2008 at the age of 16 and he rose through the ranks to become one of the club’s top prospects. He made his major league debut this season and played in 80 games for the Cardinals. Taveras hit at every level in the minors and earned the MVP award in the AA Southern League in 2011.
At the major league level, Taveras hadn’t really gotten going, hitting .239/.278/.312 with two homers in 246 plate appearances. Manager Mike Metheney had started Randall Grichuk in RF during the playoffs as Taveras saw little playing time.
But the rookie did have a huge moment in Game 2 of the NLCS, homering off of San Francisco’s Jean Machi to tie the game. St. Louis eventually won that game on Kolten Wong’s walkoff homer in the bottom of the ninth inning.
These are the on-the-field numbers and moments we have to talk about, but Oscar Tavares also made a huge impact on those who knew him personally. His personality is being mentioned repeatedly today in the aftermath of this tragedy and it is clear that much more than his production will be missed.