A Loss in Baseball

Austin McCoy, Writer

Major League Baseball and its fans are at a loss, after two former players died in a car accident.
On December 7, 2018, Luis Valbuena, and former infielder for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Jose Castillo were pronounced dead after their car hit a rock and veered off of the road. “We are deeply saddened to hear of the passing of former Angel Luis Valbuena and former MLB infielder José Castillo. Our thoughts and prayers are with their loved ones during this time of grief,” said the Los Angeles Angels in a tweet. Valbuena and Castillo were teammates on the Cardenales de Lara Venezuelan winter league team.
Valbuena made his Major League debut in 2008 and played 11 seasons in the majors with the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels. He had a .226 batting average with 114 home runs and 367 runs batted in.
Castillo only played five seasons in the majors with the Pittsburgh Pirates, San Francisco Giants, Houston Astros, and Washington Nationals. He had a .254 batting average with 39 home runs and 218 runs batted in during his Major League career.
“I will miss Luis’ banter, smile, genuine love for his teammates and, of course, the bat flips,” said Houston Astros manager, AJ Hinch in a statement. “He was a beloved person whether he was on our team or across the field.” Many people knew Valbuena for his love for the game.
Venezuelan president Nicolas Maduro joined in mourning the death of Valbuena and Castillo. “I join in the mourning that has overwhelmed the Venezuelan baseball family and all of its fans,” said Maduro in a tweet. Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred also reached out and expressed his condolences to the family and friends of the two players.
By late Friday afternoon, the coffins with the players’ bodies had arrived in Antonio Herrera Gutierrez stadium in Venezuela, where they were received amid tears by their teammates. A mass was held to bid them goodbye. Retired Cardenales player Robert Perez and Philadelphia Phillies shortstop Asdrubal Cabrera were both in attendance. The Venezuelan Professional Baseball League announced that all three scheduled games Friday were canceled and said flags will fly at half-staff in all stadiums for three days.