Taveras’ passing remembered by Cardinals one year later
Monday marked the one-year anniversary of the untimely passing of the St. Louis Cardinals’ young outfielder Oscar Taveras. On October 26, 2014, Taveras and his girlfriend died in the Dominican Republic when he crashed his Chevrolet Camaro into a tree. Taveras’ blood alcohol level was later found to be nearly five-times the legal limit.
MLB.com’s Jennifer Langosch obtained quotes from Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak and manager Mike Matheny regarding the impact of Taveras’ death on the team. Mozeliak summarized how his organization dealt with the emotional toll of losing a teammate and friend this past season:
“When you reflect back on the loss of Oscar and how that impacted our organization, you realize baseball takes a back seat to understanding the grieving process for family, friends, and teammates,” Mozeliak said. “The impact of that tragedy will have lasting effects on our organization; however, we still understand what is expected of this organization, and we will continue to focus on success. ”Article continues below ...
Langosch also noted that in 2015 the Cardinals took measures both private and public to honor Taveras’ memory moving forward: there was an ‘OT’ sign placed in the bullpen wall and anyone wearing a Cardinals uniform had an ‘OT’ patch on it as well. They also invited Taveras’ family to a game in May to give them a photo book geared around his rookie season and held a handful of on-field tributes dedicated to his memory throughout the year. More, from Langosch:
The circumstances behind the deaths of the two young people have led to organizational changes over the past 12 months. The club brought guest speakers to Spring Training to talk with Major and Minor League players about the risks of drinking and driving. The Cardinals also revived a program that provides transportation for players who are not fit to drive and revisited its messaging for Latin American players.
Langosch also passed along a quote from Matheny regarding (as he tells it) how Taveras was a part of the 2015 club, even in his absence:
“There was no denying that [he] was still a part of this club,” manager Mike Matheny said of Taveras. “Whenever any person or group loses somebody who is close to them, it's not something that goes away this quick. The mourning process is different for every single person, for every group. We had the reminder, too, as we put on those jerseys every day. You remember, one, how fragile this is, and two, I'm reminded how special each of these guys are.”
October 26, 2014 was a day that sent shockwaves around the league, and Taveras’ death isn’t something that will be forgotten anytime soon.