CLEVELAND - Cleveland Indians left-hander Cliff Young died last night in a car accident in his hometown of Willis, Texas, becoming the third Indians pitcher killed in an accident this year.
Cleveland relief pitchers Steve Olin and Tim Crews died and starter Bob Ojeda was injured in a boating accident March 22 in central Florida, during a family picnic.
"Certainly coming on top of the spring training accident, it magnifies it even more," manager Mike Hargrove said. "It's something else we have to deal with. We'll get through it."
Young was on his way to pick up a young cousin from a dance class when the car he was driving went off the road and hit a tree, killing him instantly, Indians general manager John Hart said. Two passengers survived.
Hart learned of the accident this morning from Young's agent.
"I had that same heart-wrenching feeling of sorrow and helplessness," Hart said. "We are looking forward to calendar year 1993 going away. You just shake your head and you wonder, why is this happening?"
Young, 29, appeared in 21 games for the Indians in 1993, seven as a starter. He went 3-3 with one save and a 4.62 before undergoing season-ending surgery to have bone chips removed from his left elbow.
He became a free agent at the end of the season, but the Indians were negotiating to retain him. He spent most of the previous 10 years in the minors with the Montreal, Toronto, Oakland and California organizations, going 2-1 with a 3.74 ERA in 28 major-league relief appearances with the Angels in 1990 and '91.
"He had had some trials at the major-league level but never succeeded on a consistent basis," Hart said. "When he came into spring training, he got along well with everyone. You've got a player who's trying like hell to hang on and to prove himself."
Young is survived by his wife, Tamara, and two sons, Clifford Jr. and Cameron.