Taveras passed away yesterday in a car crash. He was just 22-years-old. Immediately, people put away their colors and showed some respect. On Twitter, players, fans, teams, executives, agents, and reporters showed their respect by sending a nice message to Taveras' family and showing their support. That wasn't all. Some people changed their profile picture to a picture of Taveras, which as someone described, was "classy." I couldn't agree more.
Yesterday, Game 5 of the 2014 World Series took place. But, all in all, baseball is merely a game. While Oscar Taveras could be considered merely a player, nobody can take away the fact that he was an individual. He was a good sport, a hard worker, and did his job the right way. Those could be traits of anyone, whether they are working on an office or working out on a diamond.
On November 25, 2008, the journey began for the then 16-year-old Taveras. The Cardinals signed him to a $145,000 deal to play professional baseball and assigned him to rookie ball in 2009. He slowly began to develop into a future superstar.
After a superb 2011 season (.386/.444/.584) with Class A, Taveras began to garner notice outside the Cardinals organization. He first appeared on Baseball America's top prospect list prior to the 2012 season, coming in as baseball's 74th-best prospect. He continued his ascent from there. He hit .321 with 23 homers and 94 RBI in 2012 after a promotion to Double-A and won the Cardinals Minor League Player of the Year award. He was then ranked as baseball's third-best prospect.
On May 31, 2014, the time came for Taveras. The future, it seemed, was here for the Cardinals. In his first career game, Taveras made his mark in the way only future superstars can. He had a clutch hit. In the bottom of the fifth inning, Taveras, in his second at bat, took Giants pitcher Yusmeiro Petit deep.
Taveras didn't have the greatest of seasons, hitting .239 with three homers and 22 runs batted in, but baseball fans could see that the potential was there. But that's all it ever was. Potential.
Taveras ended his career in a big way too. His second to last at bat, and his last career hit, was also a home run. He hit a pinch-hit home run in Game 2 of the National League Championship Series of Giants pitcher Jean Machi to tie the game at three. Taveras got his fame and got to give a curtain call. But I wish that we could have seen what he would become.
"...and Taveras, the biggest swing of his young big league life happens right here...," Joe Buck called. I--we--can only wish what Joe Buck said to be true.
Once again, I send my condolences to everyone close to Taveras during this tough time. I really wish we could have seen what he would have become. We can only wonder.