St. Louis Cardinals’ Oscar Taveras Dead at Age 22


It was announced on Sunday night that St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras died in a car accident, along with his girlfriend, near his home in Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. The 22-year-old, who had long been regarded as the Cardinals’ top prospect, made his major-league debut on May 31 of this year. He was sent back to the minors shortly after, but emerged as the Cards’ full-time starting right fielder in July, following the trade of Allen Craig. His playing time was later reduced as fellow rookie Randal Grichuk caught fire in late September. Though Taveras had somewhat of a disappointing season in the majors, hitting .239 with three homers in 234 at-bats, there was renewed faith that he could be great after he had a pinch-hit home run in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series earlier this month.

With the season having concluded last week, Taveras had planned to play winter ball in the Dominican this season while also spending time improving his conditioning at the Cardinals’ facility in Florida. Cardinals manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny had stated that he would compete for the starting right fielder job this year with Grichuk.

Unfortunately, it seems like the Cardinals’ organization is all too familiar with these occurrences. Starting pitcher Darryl Kile died on a road trip in Chicago in June of 2002 after suffering a heart attack in his hotel room. Reliever Josh Hancock was killed in a car crash following a game and night out in April of 2007.

Taveras is the first major-leaguer to die while active since Seattle Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, who was murdered by his brother in the Netherlands in November of 2011. Halman was 24 at the time of his death.