Baseball world mourns as two players die in car crashes

Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte killed in separate crashes in Dominican Republic

 The Major League Baseball Players Association said it was “deeply saddened” at the deaths of Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura   (above) and former Cleveland Indians third baseman Andy Marte.  Photograph: Brad Penner

The Major League Baseball Players Association said it was “deeply saddened” at the deaths of Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura (above) and former Cleveland Indians third baseman Andy Marte. Photograph: Brad Penner

 

Major League Baseball has been hit by a double tragedy after two players were killed in separate car crashes in their native Dominican Republic.

The Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura and the former Cleveland Indians third baseman Andy Marte both died on Sunday. Ventura was 25 and Marte was 33. In a bitter twist of fate, Marte’s final MLB game was against the Royals, whose starting pitcher that day in August 2014 was Ventura.

Ventura was known for his fastball, which could top 100mph (161kmh), and his fiery temperament. He helped the Royals to beat the New York Mets in the 2015 World Series and also played in the Fall Classic in 2014 during his rookie season. In the 2014 World Series Ventura was one of the Royals’ best players, highlighted by his seven shutout innings in Game 6. The Royals lost the series 4-3 to the San Francisco Giants.

‘Exuberance’

Ventura had an unlikely start to his career. He left school at 14 and was working on a construction crew when a member of his family told him about local baseball tryouts. He was good enough to secure a place in the Royals’ Dominican academy, which was the start of a career that would take him to the World Series twice.

On Sunday, two of the team-mates who played alongside him in the Royals’ championship paid tribute to Ventura, whose nickname was Ace. “I love you Ace. I don’t know what to say other than I’m going to miss you a lot. RIP Ace,” tweeted third baseman Mike Moustakas.

“I love you my brother,” wrote first baseman Eric Hosmer. “I’m in disbelief and don’t know what to say. I love you Ace.”

Home runs

“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura,” the Major League Baseball Players Association executive director, Tony Clark, said in a statement. “It’s never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and there are no words to describe the feeling of losing two young men in the prime of their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, team-mates and fans throughout the United States and Latin America.”

Ventura and Marte’s deaths come less than six months after the Miami Marlins pitcher José Fernández was killed in a boating accident in September. Ventura was also a close friend of the St Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who was killed in a car crash in 2014.

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