Oscar Taveras, a promising outfielder for the St. Louis Cardinals, was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic on Sunday. He was just 22.
News about the outfielder’s death spread during the early innings of Game 5 of the World Series at AT&T Park, where the 22-year-old played his final game Oct. 16, in the fifth game of the National League Championship Series. He homered in his first and last games in St. Louis: in his debut on May 31 and in the Cardinals’ last home playoff game this month.
“I simply can’t believe it,” Cardinals General Manager John Mozeliak said in a statement. “I first met Oscar when he was 16 years old and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life who lived every day to the fullest.”
“We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of the youngest members of the Cardinals family,” Cardinals Chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said in a statement. “Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time. Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight.”
Lieutenant Junior Lopez Reyes of the Puerto Plata police confirmed to reporters that the young star and his girlfriend had died.
Taveras was heading from Jamao to his hometown of Sosua, near Puerto Plata in the Atlantic Coast of the Dominican Republic.
Lopez Reyes did not know yet the details of the accident.
“We’re still investigating at the scene. We’ve had some heavy rainfall here lately. It might have contributed to the accident,” he said.
Bryan Mejia, Taveras’ agent, told reporters that Taveras and his girlfriend died in the accident. No other details were immediately available.
“Taveras, 22, debuted with the Cardinals this season and batted .239 in 80 games, finishing the season as a part-time outfielder,” USA Today writes. “The Cardinals were planning for him to compete with Randal Grichuk for the starting right field job but wanted him to focus on improving his conditioning during this offseason.”
“All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening, shocked by the heartbreaking news of the accident involving Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras and his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic,” MLB Commissioner Bud Selig said in a statement. “Oscar, a young member of the Baseball family, was full of promise and at the dawn of a wonderful career in our game, evident in his game-tying home run against the Giants exactly two weeks ago.”
“We are very saddened to learn of the news that a car accident has claimed the life of Oscar Tavares and his girlfriend in the Dominican Republic,” MLB Players Association director Tony Clark said in a statement.
“Oscar had a very promising future, on and off the field, and this news is heartbreaking on many levels. It’s never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and to lose one so young is devastating news. Our thoughts and prayers go out to the families and friends of both, as well as to the St. Louis Cardinals organization and Oscar’s many fans in the United States and the Dominican Republic.”