Baseball star Taveras dies in crash


Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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St Louis Cardinals baseball star Oscar Taveras has been killed in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.

The 22-year-old was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro on a highway between the beaches of Sosua and Cabarete in Puerto Plata, about 215 miles (346km) north of the capital, Santo Domingo, when the crash happened, said Colonel Diego Pesqueira, of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

“He wasn’t carrying documents at the time of the accident, but his body was identified by family members,” Col Pesqueira said.

National police spokesman Jacobo Mateo Moquete said he was told by the mayor of Sosua that Taveras lost control of his vehicle and veered off the road. Edilia Arvelo, 18, who was in the car with Taveras, also died in the accident, Col Pesqueira said.

Taveras made his major league debut this year.

“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.”

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr said the organisation was “stunned and deeply saddened”.

“Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time,” Mr DeWitt said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight.”

Taveras was a teenager when he signed with St Louis as an international free agent in 2008. Before this season, Taveras was ranked as the No 3 overall prospect by and Baseball America.

“All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening,” baseball 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.”

It looked as if Taveras was heading for the majors in 2013, but he had surgery for a right ankle sprain last August for an injury which did not respond to treatment. He then got off to a good start at Triple-A Memphis this season.

“Oscar had a very promising future, on and off the field, and this news is heartbreaking on many levels,” Tony Clark, the leader of the players’ association, said in a statement. “It’s never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and to lose one so young is devastating news.”

Giants outfielder Juan Perez heard about Taveras’s death during Game 5 of the World Series. He hit a two-run double in the eighth inning of San Francisco’s 5-0 victory and dedicated the hit to his fallen countryman.

“He’s a really close friend of mine,” Perez said. “I know his family pretty good, I know his mom, his dad, his brothers, we were really close. It’s a huge loss for all his family, his teammates and the people that care about him.”

Several of Taveras’s Cardinals teammates took to Twitter to express their condolences.

“Last 30 minutes I’ve been sick to my stomach. Keep thinking about Oscar’s big smile in the dugout whenever we made a big play/got a big hit,” All-Star reliever Pat Neshek posted.

Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong tweeted: “RIP you will be missed buddy.”

Published: Monday 27th October 2014 by The News Editor

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