Royals star Yordano Ventura dies in car accident at age 25

Big League Stew

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura died in a car crash in the Dominican Republic early Sunday morning, according to Cristian Moreno of ESPN. Ventura was 25 years old.

Jacobo Mateo Moquete, a national police colonel in the Dominican Republic, confirmed in a tweet that Ventura died in the accident. He shared photos from the scene, which we’ll warn you, are graphic. The Royals have since confirmed Ventura’s death, according to MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan.

Here’s the team statement:


The Kansas City Royals regretfully announce the passing of Yordano Ventura, who perished in a car accident last night in the Dominican Republic. There are no details available at this time regarding the accident that claimed the life of the 25-year-old Ventura.

Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” said Dayton Moore, Royals’ Senior VP of Baseball Operations and General Manager. “He was so young and so talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with. We will get through this an an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”

Ventura spent his entire professional career in the Royals’ organization after signing as a non-drafted free agent in 2008 and debuted for the club on Sept. 17, 2013. He pitched in two World Series (2014, 2015) with Kansas City, helping the franchise win their second World Series championship in 2015. He held a 38-31 career record in 94 games and 93 starts at the Major League level, while he also made nine postseason starts before the age of 25.

Ventura made his debut for the Royals in 2013 and was immediately known for his fastball. He could easily top 100 mph. He took on the nickname Ace Ventura and would go on to play a big part in Kansas City’s AL pennant winning team from 2014 and its World Series championship team in 2015. Ventura’s path was not always smooth, but his fastball was fierce and his talent undeniable, leading him to become Kansas City’s ace.

Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, reportedly dead at age 25. (AP)
Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, reportedly dead at age 25. (AP)

Ventura’s defining moment may have come during Game 6 of the 2014 World Series, when he paid tribute to his countryman and friend, the late St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who had died in a car accident in the Dominican Republic. Ventura allowed three hits over seven shutout innings that night, helping Kansas City force a decisive Game 7.

Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred issued the following statement today on the tragic deaths of Ventura and former Major League infielder Andy Marte, who was killed in a separate car accident in the Dominican Republic.

“Today is a very sad day for our entire game and particularly for the many loyal fans in the Dominican Republic, the home of both Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte.

“Yordano was a key figure in the Royals’ recent success.  His electric talent on the mound helped lead the Royals to two American League pennants and the 2015 World Championship. Andy was a respected member of six organizations who played seven Major League seasons, including for the Cleveland Indians from 2006-2010.

“On behalf of Major League Baseball, I extend my deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends and fans of both players.”

Sadly, Ventura is the second active major league player who has died over the past five months. Former Marlins ace Jose Fernandez was killed in a boating accident on Sept. 25.

– – – – – – –

Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

What to Read Next