Carlos Martinez, right-handed power pitcher and potential 5th starter for the St. Louis Cardinals in 2015, is switching his number from 44 to 18 in honor of his friend, the late, Oscar Taveras. After Taveras tragically died in an automobile accident with his 18-year old girlfriend while under intoxication, players and fans across the nation have been sending in cards to Taveras.
Martinez, who was good friends with Taveras, requested a name change in honor of him, and the Cardinals said yes. According to the STL Post Dispatch, Cardinals GM John Mozeliak said “We’ll let him honor his friend.”
Mozeliak later said on Martinez’ stats in the Dominican Republic, where he is pitching this offseason, that Martinez looks like he is “pitching with a purpose.”
Martinez and others have been honoring Taveras’ memory through community events and tweets since the tragic death, and Taveras’ family has gathered tons of cards sent to them from fans and posted thanks on Twitter as well.
— DPL (@DPLBaseball) December 6, 2014