There are some things in life that are dangerous. There are others that we take for granted. Driving a car is both.
We think of professional athletes as super heroes. We think of prospects and their seemingly unlimited potential. We dream of what they could become. Some pan out. Others disappoint.
With Cardinals outfield prospect Oscar Taveras, we will never know. On Sunday, Taveras and his girlfriend died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic, his agent confirmed to numerous media outlets and MLB.com. Now, at the age of 22, he is gone.
What We Will Miss
First of all, the Cardinals will miss and mourn their teammate. The Cardinals, in particular, have been hit hard by tragedy.
In 2002, Darryl Kile became the first active player to die in season since Thurman Munson died in an aviation accident in 1979. The Cardinals were in Chicago for a weekend series against the Cubs and Kile died in his sleep of coronary disease.
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In 2007, Cardinals relief pitcher Josh Hancock died in a car accident on the way home from a game when his SUV swerved into a tow truck.
"Obviously, we have deep condolences to his family," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said. "We are still waiting for more details before issuing a full statement."
At this point, there are few other details known on Taveras' accident.
What We Will Remember
With Roberto Clemente, when he died in a plane crash with exactly 3,000 career hits, we knew where he stood. Munson also had shown his potential as the Yankees catcher. Most were established major leaguers. With Taveras, however, it was different.
He was the Cardinals' top prospect, a guy the team had planned around for years to come, and there will always be questions of how great he would become, just like the questions that Boston Celtics fans have on how great Len Bias could have become had he not died two nights after the NBA draft.
This, obviously, is a different situation. Instead, we can just remember the brief rookie glimpses he showed, from his first home run in his second major league at-bat.
Barely over two weeks ago, he came into an NLCS game and launched a pinch hit game-tying homer. There's just so much we will never know or get to see from Taveras. Instead, his seemingly limitless potential will live on forever.
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