Jose Uribe is killed in car crash

by Jonathan M. Katz, Associated Press
Friday, December 8, 2006

(c) Houston Astros

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic Dec 8, 2006 (AP) -- Former San Francisco Giants shortstop Jose Uribe was killed early Friday in a car crash in his native Dominican Republic.

The Dominican National Police said the 47-year-old Uribe's sport utility vehicle crashed about 3 a.m. on a highway about 30 miles west of the capital, Santo Domingo. Police said the cause of the crash was under investigation.

Uribe owned a hardware store and other businesses in his hometown of Juan Baron in recent years, and ran unsuccessfully for mayor earlier this year.

Police said he was driving to his hometown, in San Cristobal province, at the time of the crash.

Uribe played in the major leagues from 1984-93, mostly with the Giants. He began his career with one season in St. Louis, when he was known as Jose Gonzalez Uribe, and ended it with one in Houston.

He had a career batting average of .241 and a fielding percentage of .969.

Uribe's death prompted an outpouring of grief in his hometown, where Los Angeles Angels outfielder Vladimir Guerrero led thousands of mourners through the streets.

Guerrero blasted music out of a van as they marched from the Uribe family home to the town's baseball field. Among the mourners was Chicago White Sox shortstop Juan Uribe, a second cousin of Jose Uribe and from the same town.

"I was very saddened to hear the news of Jose's passing this morning," Giants owner Peter Magowan said. "He meant so much to the Giants during his playing days. He was such an important part of the team's success in the late 1980s.

"When you saw Jose on the field, he exuded happiness and pure joy for the game and life. Personally, I was really looking forward to catching up with him this season during the 20th reunion of the 1987 NL West championship team. On behalf of the Giants family, I want to pass along our condolences," he said.

Sgt. Major Juan Quezada de los Santos of the National Police said Uribe, who wasn't wearing a seatbelt, died at the scene of the crash on a mountainous road along the country's southern coast. Quezada said a passenger in the SUV was uninjured.

Uribe's death was confirmed by Glovis Reyes, a longtime friend of the ballplayer and a former member of the Dominican Congress.

"Uribe was a very loved person in Juan Baron. He was like the lord of the town," Reyes said.

Uribe is survived by his second wife, Wendy Guerrero, with whom he had four children. He had at least 14 children in all, Reyes said.