Oscar Taveras: 1992 – 2014

Oscar Taveras died Sunday in a car crash in the Dominican Republic, at the age of 22. His girlfriend, 18-year-old Edilia Arvelo, also died in the crash. News was confirmed by Dionisio Soldevila, and according to the USA Today, Taveras had been driving home to the town of Sosua. The St. Louis Cardinals have released a statement, as have Bud Selig and Tony Clark of the MLBPA.

Two weeks ago, Taveras hit a dramatic pinch-hit home run in the National League Championship Series. As we’re confronted by the senselessness of untimely death, it’s within that fact that one might find the slightest hint of consolation. Taveras had long been linked to the words “great potential,” as a professional and as an individual. There was thought to be no limit to what Taveras might one day achieve. While his is a future that will sadly forever remain unwritten, Taveras lived a life of great achievement. At an extraordinarily young age, he reached and established himself within the highest level of his work, and he was recognized as one of the very best young talents in the world. Taveras achieved what most only dream of, the result of a lifetime of practice and discipline. A short life can still be a life fully lived.

Taveras, like all players, was also more than his job. We know him only as a player, reducing him to something unfairly one-dimensional, but we can’t know the details of his life beyond the field, nor are we entitled to such. We know only that two families are grieving, as Taveras died beside his partner. There is no way for that sentence to sufficiently sink in. It’s not just you; it’s a sentence we aren’t wired to understand. It’s a sentence that’s simply too mournful to fathom.

The news touches everyone differently. Your response is unique to you, and you cope however you see fit. Perhaps you feel shame, thinking more of Taveras than of Arvelo. Perhaps you ponder why these deaths should feel different from the rest of the world’s relentless death. Perhaps you wonder why you’re overthinking this; perhaps you wonder why you’re not. There is no established psychological routine for dealing with the sudden loss of a life that you know or know of. Dwell for however long you choose to dwell. Reflect for however long you choose to reflect. And when you have a moment — and you always have a moment — reach out to a loved one and share a hug or a laugh or a bowl of gelato. The point is to love and to do good things.

Oscar Taveras lived a life and left a mark, which is precisely what he always had the potential to do. May the families find warmth in winter.

Jeff made Lookout Landing a thing, but he does not still write there about the Mariners. He does write here, sometimes about the Mariners, but usually not.

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7 years ago
Reply to  Matt

RIP Edilia
RIP Oscar

I’m glad you got the chance to hit a home run in the Postseason. That’s more than most Big Leaguers can say.

7 years ago
Reply to  Graves


There are one or two future MVP trophies someone else will be able to enjoy now.