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Cardinals Outfielder Oscar Taveras Dies In Car Accident


Royals starter Yordano Ventura paid tribute to his fallen countryman during Game Six of the World Series.

Jubilation and heartache often live in the souls of baseball fans during this time when teams are still in contention for a world series title. This year, the baseball world mourned not a team, but a player as one of the sport’s rising stars was killed in his native country.
St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras died at the age of 22 due to multiple fatal injuries during a car crash outside of Puerto Plata, Dominican Republic. Taveras was signed by the Cardinals at the age of 16 and has been seen as one of baseball’s top prospects going into the 2014 regular season.
Taveras was ranked the third-best prospect in all of Major League Baseball according to Baseball America. He hit a home run for the Cardinals in the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants who eventually went on to win the World Series. During Game Six in the World Series, Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Yordano Ventura paid tribute to his countryman by writing “R.I.P. O.T. #18” in gray sharpie on his hat. Ventura went on to pitch a shutout in Taveras’ honor.
Looking back, it is strange to think that if the Cardinals were to make the World Series then Tavaras would have still been in the United States playing for a championship.
Lieutenant Colonel Jose Armando Brito, spokesman for the branch of national police who represent Puerto Plata stated that Taveras lost control of his Chevy Camaro while driving along a curved road eventually hitting a tree, according to USA Today. Brito goes on to say that the roads were affected by the heavy rains in the region of the country. On the contrary, the Associated Press quoted spokesman Diego Pesqueira of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority who said that Taveras was driving at a “very high speed.” In addition, San Francisco Giants outfielder Juan Perez later told news reporters that the road he was driving on is known for being slippery.
With that said, if the reporters and Cruz’s statement are true, then his death could have been avoided. The Dominican Republic is not known for strict driving laws in relation to the United States. In fact, the World Health Organization reported in 2013 that for every 100,000 inhabitants of the nation, 42 of them die every year from traffic accidents.
Sophomore biology major Adrien Almonte weighs in on his home nation’s driving laws: “When I visit the Dominican Republic, I notice that the driving violations are different compared to the United States. They are less organized.”
According to the Huffington Post, traffic deaths are the number one cause of death in males in the Dominican Republic. Dominican officials believe that the high percentages of traffic deaths are due to a mix of alcohol, speed, and blatant disregard for the current laws. The death of baseball’s next big phenom is a tragedy and we should learn from it.
This problem is plausibly fixable but it requires a change of driving laws and the enforcement of new laws that still need to be put into place. The government of the Dominican Republic needs to implement a model that requires the appropriate discipline for irresponsible drivers. If this happens then the number of auto-related deaths will decrease and lives like Tavares’s will be spared.
Driving responsibly and staying safe off the diamond is an issue that needs to be a top priority amongst professional Dominican athletes, as well as other international athletes need to strongly take into account. Hopefully, the world will use the death of Taveras seriously enough to make a major impact of their society.
Phil Novotny can be reached at

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