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|Posted: Mon Jan 19th, 2015 05:23 pm||
|The St. Louis Cardinals will wear a patch on their jerseys this season featuring the initials of outfielder Oscar Taveras, the team announced Sunday.
Cardinals owner Bill DeWitt Jr. said the black patch will be inscribed with the letters "OT" and be added to the sleeve of the Cardinals' 2015 uniforms. The club is omitting Taveras's No. 18 from the patch because right-hander Carlos Martinez has already requested to wear the number in honor of his late teammate.
Bill DeWitt Jr. announces #STLCards will honor the late Oscar Taveras wearing an OT sleeve patch in 2015. #OT18 pic.twitter.com/J3WPMuTwau
— St. Louis Cardinals (@Cardinals) January 18, 2015
DeWitt revealed the plans during the club's Winter Warm-Up event in St. Louis, which included a video tribute honoring Taveras. The team also pledged to renovate a baseball field in Taveras's hometown of Sousa, Dominican Republic.
"(It will) give the young kids down there a chance to dream like Oscar did of someday playing in the big leagues and getting their start on that field," DeWitt said, according to MLB.com. "There was so much outreach and a tremendous following for Oscar down there, I think this will be a nice symbol of what he meant to that area, and I think it's the appropriate place to do it."
Taveras and his girlfriend were killed in a car accident Oct. 26. It was later revealed that Taveras had high blood-alcohol content in his system at the time of the crash, marking the second time in franchise history a player was killed while driving intoxicated. Police said former Cardinals pitcher Josh Hancock was drunk at the time of his fatal car crash in 2007.
"We'll make a special effort to do even more in the future," DeWitt said, in reference to the club's plan to dedicate more time to discuss decision-making responsibilities during spring training. "Some of the ... young kids come in, a lot of them, in particular the younger kids, maybe been away from home for the first time, just explain to them the responsibility program. We do that, but we'll emphasize it even more."