St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras dies in car accident

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St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras dies in car accident
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - OCTOBER 16: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals tips his hat as he walks off the field after the Cardinals lose to the San Francisco Giants 6-3 during Game Five of the National League Championship Series at AT&T Park on October 16, 2014 in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
St. Louis Cardinals shortstop Jhonny Peralta, left, and right fielder Oscar Taveras chat during batting practice before Game 4 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Wednesday, Oct. 15, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras hits a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras celebrates as he rounds first after hitting a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras reacts after hitting a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
San Francisco Giants relief pitcher Jean Machi watches as St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras hits a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras hits a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Eric Gay)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras is congratulated by Carlos Martinez (44) after hitting a home run during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, Oct. 12, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
St. Louis Cardinals first baseman Matt Adams, right, celebrates with teammate Oscar Taveras in the locker after their 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of baseball's NL Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras celebrates in the locker room with teammates after their 3-2 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 4 of baseball's NL Division Series, Tuesday, Oct. 7, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter celebrates his two-run home run with Oscar Taveras during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
St. Louis Cardinals' Matt Carpenter, right, celebrates his two-run home run with teammate Oscar Taveras during the eighth inning in Game 2 of baseball's NL Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Los Angeles, Saturday, Oct. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras, bottom, reacts after getting his helmet knocked off by Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, after Baez forced Taveras out at second, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras, left, and Chicago Cubs shortstop Javier Baez, watch Baez's throw to first, after Baez forced Taveras out at second, during the fifth inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Chicago. Baez was unable to complete the double play. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
St. Louis Cardinals second baseman Kolten Wong, front, makes a catch of a fading fly ball by Chicago Cubs' Jorge Soler, in shallow right field, as right fielder Oscar Taveras comes over to assist during the third inning of a baseball game Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
Colorado Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario, left, watches the ball as St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras follows through on an RBI-single during the sixth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Sept. 13, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Scott Kane)
St. Louis Cardinals' Yadier Molina, second from left, celebrates with teammates Carlos Martinez (44), Oscar Taveras (18) and Jhonny Peralta after scoring a baseball game-winning run on a single by Peter Bourjos during the ninth inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Wednesday, Sept. 3, 2014, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 1-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras (18) greets center fielder Jon Jay after the last out by the Pittsburgh Pirates in the ninth inning of a baseball game Monday, Aug. 25, 2014, in Pittsburgh. The Cardinals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Keith Srakocic)
St. Louis Cardinals third baseman Matt Carpenter (13), right fielder Oscar Taveras (18), second baseman Kolten Wong, second from right, and shortstop Jhonny Peralta (27) celebrate after the defeating the Miami Marlins 5-2 during a baseball game, Wednesday, Aug.13, 2014, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras (18) gestures after he scored on a single hit by Justin Masterson in the sixth inning during a baseball game against the Miami Marlins, Wednesday, Aug.13, 2014, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
St. Louis Cardinals manager Mike Matheny, right, talks with right fielder Oscar Taveras (18) during a baseball gam against the Miami Marlinse, Wednesday, Aug.13, 2014, in Miami. (AP Photo/Lynne Sladky)
FILE - This Aug. 3, 2014 file photo shows St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras pumping his fist as he runs down the first base line after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers in St. Louis. Authorities say, Sunday, Oct. 26, 2014, Taveras has died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson, file)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras watches his RBI single to score Jhonny Peralta during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 3-2. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras, right, celebrates as he is congratulated by first base coach Chris Maloney after hitting an RBI single during the seventh inning of a baseball game against the Milwaukee Brewers Sunday, Aug. 3, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Jhonny Peralta, left, and Oscar Taveras celebrate following the Cardinals' 9-7 victory over the Milwaukee Brewers in a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras, left, is tagged out by Milwaukee Brewers catcher Jonathan Lucroy during the fifth inning of a baseball game Saturday, Aug. 2, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras, left, high fives with Jon Jay after the Cardinals' 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres in a baseball game Thursday, July 31, 2014, in San Diego. Taveras drove in two runs with a homer. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras, left, high fives with a teammate after the Cardinals' 6-2 victory over the San Diego Padres in a baseball game Thursday, July 31, 2014, in San Diego. Taveras drove in two runs with a homer. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras makes the running catch to take a hit away from San Diego Padres' Rene Rivera in the second inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 31, 2014, in San Diego. (AP Photo/Lenny Ignelzi)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras cannot reach a ball hit for a two-run double by Pittsburgh Pirates' Neil Walker during the fifth inning of a baseball game Thursday, July 10, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras and relief pitcher Carlos Martinez, right, during a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras (18) pleads his case after being called out during the ninth inning of a baseball game against the Kansas City Royals at Kauffman Stadium in Kansas City, Mo., Thursday, June 5, 2014. Kansas City Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer (35) holds the ball after the play. Taveras was called safe after review. The Royals defeated the Cardinals 3-2. (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras swings during the sixth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Sunday, June 1, 2014, in St. Louis. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras watches his solo home run on his second major league at-bat during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, May 31, 2014, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 2-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras (18) points skyward after hitting solo home run on his second major league at-bat during the fifth inning of a baseball game against the San Francisco Giants Saturday, May 31, 2014, in St. Louis. The Cardinals won 2-0. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras tips his cap to the crowd as he walks off the field following the Cardinals' 2-0 victory over the San Francisco Giants in a baseball game Saturday, May 31, 2014, in St. Louis. Taveras homered in is second career at-bat in his major league debut. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates hitting a solo home run in the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants during Game Two of the National League Championship Series at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 12: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up during batting practice prior to Game Two of the National League Championship Series against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on October 12, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael Thomas/Getty Images)
ST LOUIS, MO - OCTOBER 07: (L-R) Oscar Taveras, Adam Wainwright and Matt Holliday of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate with teammates after defeating the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Four of the National League Divison Series at Busch Stadium on October 7, 2014 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Pinch hitter Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals singles in the eighth innings of Game Two of the National League Division Series against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Dodger Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Matt Carpenter #13 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrates with teammate Oscar Taveras #18 after Carpenter's two-run homerun in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers during Game Two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 04: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals signals to the umpire that he was safe in the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game Two of the National League Division Series at Dodger Stadium on October 4, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Chicago Cubs second baseman Javier Baez (9) throws to first base on the force out of St. Louis Cardinals right fielder Oscar Taveras (18) during the fifth inning on Wednesday, Sept. 24, 2014, at Wrigley Field in Chicago. (Nuccio DiNuzzo/Chicago Tribune/MCT via Getty Images)
CHICAGO, IL - SEPTEMBER 24: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals is hit by a pitch during the second inning against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field on September 24, 2014 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Brian Kersey/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - AUGUST 23: Right fielder Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals slides into home to score a run in the top of the sixth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies on August 23, 2014 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 16: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals singles in the sixth inning against the San Diego Padres at Busch Stadium on August 16, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Michael B. Thomas/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 10: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals looks on from the dugout during the game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 10, 2014 in Baltimore, Maryland. The Cardinals defeated the Orioles 8-3. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - AUGUST 3: Peter Bourjos #8 and Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after defeating the Milwaukee Brewers 3-2 at Busch Stadium on August 3, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 8: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up during batting practice before the start of MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 8, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - JUNE 8: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals talks to hitting coach John Mabry #47 in the dugout during MLB game action against the Toronto Blue Jays on June 8, 2014 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals watches the action prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Jet Blue Field on February 26, 2013 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 15-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
FORT MYERS, FL - FEBRUARY 26: Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals watches the action prior to the start of the game against the Boston Red Sox at Jet Blue Field on February 26, 2013 in Fort Myers, Florida. The Cardinals defeated the Red Sox 15-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up prior to the start of spring training on February 20, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 20: Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals warms up prior to the start of spring training on February 20, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 28: Oscar Taveras #87 of the St. Louis Cardinals hits a grand slam home run in the first inning against the Miami Marlins at the Roger Dean Stadium on February 28, 2013 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images)
JUPITER, FL - FEBRUARY 24: Oscar Taveras #77 of the St. Louis Cardinals poses for a portrait during photo day at Roger Dean Stadium on February 24, 2014 in Jupiter, Florida. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Jon Jay #19, Matt Holliday #7 and Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals celebrate after beating the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on May 31, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. The Cardinals beat the Giants 2-0. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals acknowledges the fans during a curtain call after hitting his first major league home run in his second at bat against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on May 31, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
ST. LOUIS, MO - MAY 31: Oscar Taveras #18 of the St. Louis Cardinals throws against the San Francisco Giants at Busch Stadium on May 31, 2014 in St. Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)
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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic (AP) - St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, a 22-year-old slugger who was regarded as one of the majors' top prospects, died Sunday in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic.

Taveras was driving a 2014 Chevrolet Camaro at the time of the crash on a highway between the beaches of Sosua and Cabarete in Puerto Plata, about 215 miles north of the capital of Santo Domingo, said Col. Diego Pesqueira of the Metropolitan Transportation Agency.

"He wasn't carrying document at the time of the accident, but his body was identified by family members," Pesqueira said.

National police spokesman Jacobo Mateo Moquete said he was told by the mayor of Sosua that Taveras lost control of his vehicle and went off the road. Edilia Arvelo, 18, who was in the car with Taveras, also died in the accident, said Pesqueira.

Taveras made his major league debut this year. He hit .239 with three homers and 22 RBIs in 80 games for the NL Central champions.

"I simply can't believe it," Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said in a release. "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 who lived every day to the fullest."

Cardinals Outfielder Oscar Taveras Dies in Car Crash

Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr. said the organization was "stunned and deeply saddened" by Taveras' death.

"Oscar was an amazing talent with a bright future who was taken from us well before his time," DeWitt said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with his family and friends tonight."

Taveras was a teenager when he signed with St. Louis as an international free agent in 2008. Before this season, Taveras was ranked as the No. 3 overall prospect by MLB.com and Baseball America, and had a.321 average over six minor league seasons.

He homered against the Giants' Yusmeiro Petit in his major league debut on May 31. He also had a big solo drive in the seventh inning of Game 2 in the NL Championship Series against San Francisco.

"All of us throughout Major League Baseball are in mourning this evening," baseball Commissioner Bud Selig said in a release.

"Oscar, a young member of the baseball family, was full of promise and at the dawn of a wonderful career in our game, evident in his game-tying home run against the Giants exactly two weeks ago."

It looked as if Taveras was headed to the majors in 2013, but he had surgery for a high right ankle sprain last August for an injury that did not respond to treatment. He then got off to a nice start at Triple-A Memphis this season, earning a promotion by batting .325 with seven homers in 49 games.

"Oscar had a very promising future, on and off the field, and this news is heartbreaking on many levels," Tony Clark, the leader of the players' association, said in a statement. "It's never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and to lose one so young is devastating news."

Several of Taveras' Cardinals teammates took to Twitter to express their condolences.

"Last 30 minutes I've been sick to my stomach. Keep thinking about Oscar's big smile in the dugout whenever we made a big play/got a big hit," All-Star reliever Pat Neshek posted.

Rookie second baseman Kolten Wong tweeted: "RIP you will be missed buddy."

Reactions from Oscar Taveras' teammates upon learning the news:

12 PHOTOS
Social Media Reax to Oscar Taveras death
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St. Louis Cardinals' Oscar Taveras dies in car accident
Last 30 minutes I've been sick to my stomach. Keep thinking about Oscar's big smile in the dugout whenever we made a big play/got a big hit
Oscar was the last teammate I saw in St. L.
I joked with him since our apartments were next to each other about how he could fit nearly 12 dozen bats in his car.
I'm just having a tough time with this, my thoughts are with his family & friends
Oscar was family. God blessed me with the opportunity to play with a truly special teammate and friend. Speechless. #ripOscar #GodsPlan
Oscar was family. God blessed me with the opportunity to play with a truly special teammate and friend. Speechless. #ripOscar #GodsPlan
We are all stunned and deeply saddened by the tragic loss of one of the youngest members of the Cardinals family. http://t.co/MDyAZxSQ4B
My condolences to Oscar Taveras family. This is a sad day. Heartbreaking news!! http://t.co/8jYmBQmScT
So sad to hear about Oscar. My prayers go out to his family. In complete shock.. So sad.. Life isn't fair
My Prayers are with your Family .. A life taken too soon http://t.co/SYxDYkCmSV
Absolute Tragedy.. My prayers go out to Oscar Taveras family.
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