One year ago to the date, promising St. Louis Cardinals rookie outfielder Oscar Taveras made his Major League Baseball debut and hit a home run in the game. Taveras’ home run came during his second at-bat to give the Cardinals a 1-0 lead over the San Francisco Giants. The Cardinals went on to win the game with a 2-0 victory.
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Taveras was supposed to be the right fielder of the future. He was supposed to rival Gregory Polanco of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Kris Bryant of the Chicago Cubs. All of that changed on a Sunday night in October when news broke that Taveras died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.
Taveras’ death led the Cardinals trading pitchers Shelby Miller and Tyrell Jenkins for right fielder Jason Heyward and pitcher Jordan Walden. This season, the Cardinals are really missing Miller’s presence in the pitching rotation with staff ace Adam Wainwright being out for the season. It’s too early to really say what grade the trade has earned but Miller is 5-2 with a 1.48 ERA in ten starts for the Atlanta Braves while Heyward is hitting .250/.302/.399 this season with 5 home runs and 14 runs batted in. Given these numbers entering the last day of May 2015, the Braves have the edge in the deal.
On this one year anniversary, the Cardinals are taking on the Los Angeles Dodgers, who they defeated last year during the National League Division Series. Appropriately enough, Martinez is on the mound for the Cardinals as the club pays tribute to their fallen teammate. Interestingly enough, the first and last home runs of Taveras’ career, including the postseason, came against the Giants.
For all of Taveras’ promise, let his tragic death be a lesson that it is never right to drink and drive. Taveras should have listened to his teammate, pitcher Carlos Martinez. Maybe he would still be alive.