In his own words: Xavier Scruggs on his friend, Oscar

Jenifer Langosch/MLB.com

They were teammates for years in the Cardinals’ minor league system, grew to be close friends along the way and shared the joy of both making their Major League debuts in 2014. Here is Xavier Scruggs, in his own words, on what it was like to call Oscar Taveras a teammate and then to say goodbye too soon.

As written by Scruggs:

Matthew 5:4 — Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 

I am hurt. I can’t help but think that this a bad dream. Oscar Taveras was family. He brightened up every single person’s day with such an amazing smile. Both his smile and laughter couldn’t help but put you in a great mood. I am selfish to think about how I have lost a great teammate, an awesome friend, and an amazing person. I say I am selfish because to think that just I am affected by this tragedy is self-centered. So many people are affected by this loss; however we need to rejoice in the fact that Oscar was even in our lives. I can’t believe I was even blessed to play with someone with such great talent. His ability on the baseball field was unreal. There are so many times when I couldn’t help but think that this game was too easy for him. His fluidity as a hitter was unmatchable. His love for the game was remarkable. As a teammate, I would marvel at the fact that he would be so sincerely disappointed when he was not perfect. For we all know that it is impossible to be perfect in this game;, however he found a way to make it seem tangible. It is weird how baseball will bring you close to someone that you might not normally associate with in everyday life. He was a true friend from the Dominican Republic. I am honored to be playing in a country right now that he brought so much joy to. Language was no barrier when it came to Taveras and I. I know it to be the same with everyone who played with him. We shared far too many laughs that should happen on a baseball field, but those who knew Oscar know that was just him. A loose, full-of-energy guy. I cringe at the idea that he is gone;, however I will continue to think back upon the amazing times we had together. This past season when I was in Triple-A Memphis and he was making his Major League debut, I watched him homer for his first hit and I remember thinking ‘He never disappoints’. It didn’t surprise me because a moment too big for most was just an opportunity for Oscar to show the world his talent. The baseball community has lost someone truly special. My prayers go out to his family, as well as his girlfriend’s family and anyone who has been affected by his lost. Thank you Oscar for touching the lives of so many. You will never be forgotten. You will forever be in our hearts. OT18

Tu Hermano, 

Xavier Scruggs 

12 Comments

Thank you, Xavier, for these words and feelings – they’re really appreciated!

Beautiful heartfelt words! This is so sad!

Thank you for those good words, Xavier. God comfort you, bud.

“But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about those who are asleep, that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have fallen asleep.” 1 Thess. 4:13-14

Perfectly put X. i’ll miss that sparkle in his eye and his goofy grin.

You always know exactly what to say, Xavier. Your experiences are beautiful. Oscar is smiling brightly, humbly, but brightly!

May you rest in peace. You will be missed by cardinal nation. Great young up and coming player. Always amazing to see the power he brought to the game.

Thank you, Xavier. It means a lot that you posted this. You know, my baseball guys in Springfield will always be my “baseball guys”. This has been so hard for so many. My first thought, was regardIing the families; then I cried again as I thought of my baseball guys, and I was so upset that you all are not together in this off-season to help each other. I thought of Coach Schildt and Pop Warner………I hope they are ok, too. I feel the sadness myself………who do I call that would understand how a pseudo “team mom” could feel this sad. I shall miss that big, skinny kid so much. When I would hold out my arms and say, “HUG, OSCAR”, he would always come over and laugh as he hugged me. (He said I taught him the word “hug”……..As I got to know him more, I think he just let me think that………he did like to joke a lot.) Tonight, my heart hurts…

Vikki, I think we all tend to forget the relationships that are forged along the way. It was so good of you to point out that folks in Springfield lost not only a ballplayer but a friend, and someone they watched grow and mature. I mourn your loss as well.

Thank you, johnmichaelmarty…………sounds like you “get it”. That means a lot…

My heart aches just as it does in each member of the Cardinal family. This is from someone who can claim to have been a fan for the past 75 years or so. I believe that at least qualifies me as an honorary member of the family. My prayers for Oscar and his friend at ongoing. Thank you for the time you spent with us, Oscar.

Beautiful thoughts and words from Xavier. I tear up every time I read the words of anguish from Oscar’s teammates, manager, and those in the Cardinals organization. But those tears are followed by a smile when they also speak of Oscar’s infectious smile and genuine joy of life–both on and off the field. While Oscar had tremendous talent and potential as a player, it sounds as if he was a quite the man as well. Rest peacefully, Oscar, along with your beautiful girlfriend.

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