This morning, I woke up and took a look at my calendar to see what I have scheduled for today. October 26th. I had to stop and think why this date sounded so familiar. Then, it hit me. It's been two years since we have received the news that our rookie Oscar Taveras was tragically killed in a car accident.
Oscar Taveras memorial outside Busch Stadium
It's one of those situations that you ask people where they were when they found out. I was in a drive thru line getting my dinner for that. My friend sent me a text. I looked down and read "Oscar Taveras is dead!" I could feel the puzzled look on my face thinking that this was just some cruel and twisted joke. I immediately went to Twitter to see what everybody was talking about. The more tweets I read, the more real it became. I pulled out of the drive thru line, because suddenly, that night's dinner didn't seem as important. When I got home, I came across Bill DeWitt's announcement of Oscar's death. This was when it became a true reality.
I could jump right into Oscar's stats and say how much of an amazing player he was and how much potential he had. I could compare him to other rookies within the MLB and just show how he could blow all of those other rookies out of the water. I will go more into this later in this post, but for now, let's just observe the fact that Oscar was more than a baseball player. He was a human being.
As much as hearing this news hurt us as Cardinals fans, let's just take two seconds to observe what it would be like for his family and personal loved ones. We could say how much this news hurt us, but thinking about what his family and loved ones must have felt is a straight stab to the heart.
It irks me every time somebody says that he "murdered" and that he did a very selfish act.
I will be very blunt and honest here: what he did was not smart. I know it. The Cardinals fan next to me knows it. Everybody knows it. At the end of the day, he was young and he was human. Mistakes happen and mistakes tend to have consequences. Although, at the end of the day, he was a great ballplayer and a great human being. Take a break from what he did and remember who he was - because who he was is what matters.
From what it seemed like, Oscar was an amazing human being. He attempted to befriend everyone that came across his path. He cared for his family. In the statement of Oscar's death, manager Mike Matheny talked about how much Oscar loved his teammates.
Oscars death shook his family, his friends, Cardinal Nation, and the whole MLB franchise.
In game 6 of the 2014 World Series, the Kansas City Royals provided a moment of silence to remember Oscar. The phrase "OT 18" was written upon many baseball caps.
Looking back at Oscar's career, there is no way you CAN'T be impressed.
Oscar was rewarded 33 awards all before the age of 22. General Manager, John Mozeliak, met Oscar when he was just 16 years old. He was just a kid when he was observed the big leagues. Everybody knew that this kid was going to be someone - someone special. All of the baseball analysis experts were naming him the top prospect not only within the Cardinals' organization, but throughout all of baseball. Reminder: he's a kid at this point.
Watching Oscar in the Minor Leagues was a treat for anybody who genuinely enjoyed watching baseball. His passion and love for the game grew day in and day out, and that was clearly shown through his attitude and stats.
Through the years of 2012-14 in the minors, he went roughly .316/.366/.510. That within itself shows that he had a lot of talent and promise. He made a great contribution to the club and it is a tragedy that we had to say goodbye to this young and talented man.
The one thing that I'm going to miss about Oscar is that beautiful swing of his. Many coaches wanted to change his swing, which is absurd. CBS baseball writer, Dayn Perry, even said "a new Bible verse could be made about that kind of swing."
I often think about where Oscar would be if he were still with us. The "what if's" hurt a lot - especially in sports. Oscar was going to be a big time ballplayer. Every baseball fan knows that.
I'm not going to write an article each time a year passes - but it just felt so necessary because it still feels like it happened yesterday. Oscar is missed every day by the Cardinals organization and I am very certain he is missed every day by his loved ones.
Rest easy, El Fenómeno.