The Kansas City Royals’ young star pitcher, Yordano Ventura, and ex-Major Leaguer Andy Marte died in unrelated car accidents in their native Dominican Republic last Sunday. Ventura was 25 years-old and Marte was 33 years-old at the time of their deaths.
Major League Baseball and the baseball community are mourning the deaths of one of the young, up-and-coming pitchers in the MLB. An espn.com article stated the Dominican Republic’s highway patrol spokesman, Jacobo Mateo, reported Ventura had died 40 miles northwest of Santo Domingo. He was on a stretch of highway leading to the town of Juan Adrian, but Mateo did not say whether Ventura was driving or not. Metropolitan traffic authorities said Marte died about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo.
An mlb.com article written January 22nd by MLB correspondent Jesse Sanchez reported MLB commissioner, Robert Manfred, gave his condolences to families and friends of the late Ventura and Marte.
“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,” Manfred said. “I extend my deepest condolences to the families, teammates, friends and fans of both players.”
It was indeed a sad day for the Dominican Republic and baseball fans around the world. Major League Baseball has now lost two of its rising star pitchers, with Ventura’s death happening less than six months after Miami Marlins’ ace Jose Fernandez, who died in a boating accident late September.
Ventura played four years in the MLB, appearing in his first game at the age of 21. The young, hard-throwing righthander was known for an electric arm and had been clocked throwing 102.9 miles per hour. In his four-year career with the Kansas City Royals, Ventura started 93 games and finished his career with a 38-31 record.
Arguably his best season was in 2015, where he finished the season going 13-8 while adding a World Series title to his resume. Ventura’s career earned run average (E.R.A.) was 3.89 and he averaged 153 strikeouts in his last three seasons. He only started three games and pitched 15.1 innings, adding 11 strikeouts in his first season with the Royals.
A career cut short by tragedy, Ventura was known for having one of the strongest arms in baseball and routinely fanned hitters. He averaged 7.72 strikeouts per nine innings, as batters struggled to catch up to his fastball that would repeatedly break 100 miles per hour. Ventura was also the starting pitcher in Marte’s final game in the Major Leagues, per Lindsey Foltin of foxsports.com. That game was in 2014 when Marte was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks.
As for Marte, he played seven years in the MLB, spending most his career with the Cleveland Indians. Over those seven years, Marte had a batting average of .218, with an on-base percentage of .276. He finished his career with 21 homeruns and 99 runs batted in (RBI). Marte spent much of his career at third base, but occasionally appeared as a first-baseman.
The entire baseball community is mourning the loss of two exceptional ball players, as many hearts and prayers go out to the Ventura and Marte families. It has been a tough year for the Latin community; baseball is so deeply rooted in the Latin American culture and the Dominican Republic’s, and these two exceptional men will be greatly missed.