(BaseballStL) – After the tragic news of Oscar Taveras’ death Sunday, here’s a look at his two biggest home runs as a St. Louis Cardinal both coming against the San Francisco Giants.
The first happened on May 31, 2014, in his first MLB game, against the Giants. In his second at-bat, Taveras scorched the ball 404 feet over the right field wall off Giants starter Yusmeiro Petit.
Later that night, Mike Matheny described Taveras’ homer as validation for the hype bestowed upon him.
“When he came across the plate, he was still kind of holding back,” Matheny said, “He let it loose once he got into the dugout. That curtain call was pretty special. He was beaming after that.”
Taveras hit only two more homers in his next 232 at-bats in the regular season, but on October 12, 2014, the lefty slugger hit an even bigger blast off the Giants. The Redbirds were down 3-2 in Game 2 of the NLCS when Taveras came in to pinch-hit. His solo homer tied the game as the Cards eventually beat the Giants 5-4.
In his post-game press conference, Taveras was soft spoken as he explained how thankful he was for the opportunity to get into the game.
“I was feeling grateful for the organization and the manager to give me the opportunity,” Taveras said, through a translator, “I just try to keep focused and any time I receive any opportunity, I just try to do my best and thank God I can do those good things.”
After losing playing time in the postseason to Randal Grichuk, Taveras stayed positive through the entire experience, citing the success of his team as the bigger prize.
“I understand the situation with the team right now,” he had said, “I understand what we try to do the best for winning the game.”
He followed up that answer by saying that he had more work to do in this coming off-season.
Taveras died Sunday as a result of a car accident. He was 22.