ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)- The loss struck Cardinal Nation and all of Major League Baseball hard. On Sunday, Oscar Taveras, 22, the St. Louis Cardinals top outfield prospect, and his girlfriend, Edilia Arvelo, 18, were killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic.
Taveras was driving a red Chevrolet Camaro in the city of Puerto Plata, when his car hit a tree on the Sosua-Cabarete freeway around 6:40pm St. Louis time. Both Taveras and Arvelo died at a hospital.
The team and organization was “stunned and deeply saddened” said Cardinals chairman Bill DeWitt Jr.
Fans have been coming to Busch Stadium in waves ever since Sunday night, leaving everything behind from baseballs to balloons as they set up a makeshift memorial for Oscar Taveras at the foot of the Musial statue. With voices often choked by emotion, fans gathered outside an empty Busch stadium feeling a little empty themselves. They had not known Taveras long enough to have known him well, but to be a Cardinal is to be part of the family.
"He was so young. I am just stunned, it is hard to describe the amount of emotion that runs through you,' said one fan. 'Even though you don`t personally know him, it`s a loss."
"Who would have ever thought the last home run he hit would be the last time Cardinals` fans would have to celebrate his life," said fan Anthony Black.
Some paid their respects by leaving something behind. Some found themselves moved by the mementos left behind by others.
"I just happened to see this ball,' said Jan Tahke," and it says "If love alone could have spared you, you would have lived forever.` That`s very touching."
Oscar Taveris was only 22, but fans are choosing to dwell on all he accomplished in his short life, because pondering what might have been is just too sad.
"It is just an unspeakable tragedy," said fan Greg Gude. "Hard to comprehend."
Taveras' funeral is scheduled for Tuesday in his hometown of Sosua, D.R.
The St. Louis Cardinals have created a webpage dedicated to Taveras. You’ll find it here.