High hopes for St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, 22, came to a tragic end yesterday when the rising slugger and his girlfriend were both killed in a car crash. The accident occurred on a Dominican Republic highway near Taveras' home, just weeks after he nailed a home run to help the Cardinals steal a playoff game from the San Francisco Giants. Taveras, whom the St. Louis Post-Dispatch calls a "rising meteor of talent," was considered one of the game's leading hitting prospects; the Cardinals said he was their best since three-time MVP Albert Pujols.
"I simply can't believe it," says general manager John Mozeliak. "I first met Oscar when he was [16 years old] and will forever remember him as a wonderful young man who was a gifted athlete with an infectious love for life." The cause of the accident isn't yet clear, the Post-Dispatch notes, though police noted heavy rain in the area. But "those who came to see Oscar play will forever be denied the answer to whether he could actually touch the sun," writes Joe Strauss. Meanwhile, "all of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning," says Commissioner Bud Selig, per ESPN.