Yordano Ventura was a Dominican pitcher for the Kansas City Royals. Born in Samaná, Dominican Republic, he got his start as a prospect at just 16 years old. He was full of life, and his passion for the game and his obvious joy in playing it quickly made him a fan favorite. He was twice-named to the All-Star Futures Game, and helped the Royals win the World Series for the first time in 29 years. He had explosive fastballs, an even more explosive temper, and his promising career ended abruptly when he died in a car crash in his native country at the age of just 25 years old.
He began his career with the Royals, signing as a free agent and training at the KC Royal’s academy for a year and a half. After a few years in the minor leagues, he came back to the Royals after they promoted him to the major league in 2013. His fastball topped out at an incredible 102 miles per hour. He racked up 39 career wins (including playoffs), and had the most innings pitched for the Royals since 2013.
Royals General Manager Dayton Moore said in a statement. “He was so young and talented, full of youthful exuberance and always brought a smile to everyone he interacted with.”
He was also known for frequently visiting Kansas City-area pediatric cancer wards to spend time with the children and give away memorabilia. It is in his memory that the Kansas City Royals, in their partnership with GreatLife KC, sent Doug Albers on a mission during his recent trip to the Dominican Republic. Doug brought Royals gear, in the form of official t-shirts and youth Royals caps, to the children and young baseball players of the Dominican Republic, in honor of the memory of Yordano Ventura.
They also visited Estadio Francisco A Micheli, the stadium that is the home of the Toros, the team fellow Kansas City Royals alum Edison Volquez played with before leaving the DR to play MLB. Volquez also participated the season and game that defeated the Mets to win the Royals the World Series.
It is always a tragedy to see a promising career cut short, and a young, joyful life ended abruptly. It was an honor and a privilege for Doug Albers, and GreatLife KC to pair up with the Royals to use the memory or Yordano Ventura to help inspire a new generation of Dominican children to dream big and play hard.