Tragic news struck the LA Angels and the MLB world, as Luis Valbuena and former Pirates second baseman Jose Castillo were pronounced dead following a car accident on Thursday.
The LA Angels employed Luis Valbuena for the better portion of two years, before releasing him in August this season. He also spent time playing for the Seattle Mariners, Cleveland Indians, Chicago Cubs, and Houston Astros. He played third base, second base, and first base throughout his MLB career.
Very few details have emerged about the car accident, but this is an addition to a very long list of ballplayers to die in accidents. Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte both died in car accidents in 2017. Jose Fernandez died during a boating accident during the 2016 season. The Angels themselves saw pitcher Nick Adenhart be killed in a drunk driving accident after his most impressive major league start ever.
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The news is heartbreaking for the entire MLB world. Valbuena was never the best player on the diamond, but always played with his heart on his sleeve. Whether it was a home run sailing 450 feet or an RBI single down the line, Valbuena could be counted on for the best bat flips in the league.
Valbuena was more than just a depth option for the Angels. His antics and spirit made winning games all the more fun, and kept smiles on everyone’s faces during the losing days. From fans, to teammates, to coaches, Valbuena’s smile was contagious, and his tenure with the Angels was not based off stats, but what happened outside of the batter’s box.
Valbuena, 33, was with former Pirates second baseman Jose Castillo, who was also pronounced dead on Thursday. Castillo, 36, played the Pirates for the majority of his career, but also spent time with the Giants and Astros before his career ended in 2008.
It is always sad to see a great person such as Valbuena and Castillo to pass away in such a horrific way. The thoughts and prayers from Halo Hangout and the Angels community are with both players and their friends and families.