Remembering Ace: The Life and Career of Kansas City Royals RHP Yordano Ventura

   It was a loss felt across Royals nation, both here and in the Dominican Republic: Kansas City Royals RHP Yordano Ventura has died.

   The 25-year-old “Ace” was killed in a car accident in his native home of the Dominican Republic during the early hours of Jan. 22.

   Ventura’s life was tragically cut short when his custom white and royal blue Jeep Wrangler overturned on a foggy stretch of highway in Rancho Arriba, a town in the province of San Jose de Ocoa.

   The Royals signed Ventura in 2008 at the age of 17, and he made his debut in 2013. A fearless rising star, he was known for his 100-mph pitches — delivered with his signature lip purse and trademark leg whip — as well as his enthusiasm, love for baseball and fierce competitive streak.

   Ventura was an integral part of the Royals’ visit to the World Series in 2014 and ultimate reclaiming of the crown in 2015. One of his most memorable outings was Game 6 of the 2014 World Series, when he pitched seven shutout innings against the San Francisco Giants in honor of his dear friend, St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Oscar Taveras, who also lost his life in a car accident in the Dominican Republic.

   Ventura was buried his hometown of Las Terrenas in the Dominican Republic on Jan. 24. He is survived by his mother, Marisol Hernandez, and his wife, Maria del Pilar Sangiovanni.

   Among his procession were fellow Royals teammates Eric Hosmer, Christian Colón, Salvador Perez, Alcides Escobar and Mike Moustakas; team president Dan Glass; manager Ned Yost; team manager Dayton Moore; former teammates Jarrod Dyson, Greg Holland, Edinson Volquez and Johnny Cueto; and fellow Dominican Major League players David Ortiz, Robinson Cano and Pedro Martinez.

   In KC, flags fly at half-staff, and a memorial grows outside the Royals Team Store at Kauffman Stadium; buildings around town are awash with blue and the number 30, and fans have taken to social media to account their favorite memories, post photos and petition for the club to retire Ventura’s jersey. The Royals’ annual FanFest paid tribute to Ventura with a moment of silence and a pitcher’s mound featuring a framed game-worn jersey, video boards showing highlights and a signature wall for fans to sign.

   The club has also announced that they will honor Ventura with a special commemorative “Ace 30” patch on their uniforms for the 2017 season.

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