SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic — Kansas City Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura, who helped his team win two pennants and a World Series, was killed Saturday in a car wreck in his native Dominican Republic, the team said Sunday. He was 25.
Another Dominican player, former major leaguer Andy Marte, 33, died Sunday in a separate wreck in the Caribbean nation, MLB.com reported.
Ventura pitched in the 2014 and 2015 World Series and helped the Royals win the World Series in 2015. He was drafted by the club in 2013, had a 38-31 career pitching record and started in nine postseason games.
Reports from the Dominican Republic said the crash happened on a highway in Rancho Arriba, a town in the province of San Jose de Ocoa, according to MLB.com on the Royals official website.
Ventura’s hometown is Las Terrenas, where the funeral services are expected to take place, the article said.
“Our prayers right now are with Yordano’s family as we mourn this young man’s passing,” Royals general manager Dayton Moore said in the statement. “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 as an organization, but right now is a time to mourn and celebrate the life of Yordano.”
Other players and wrecks
The deaths of Marte and Ventura come about four months after the death of another young baseball player.
Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Fernandez, 24, and two friends were killed Sept. 25 when their boat crashed off Miami Beach. A native of Santa Clara, Cuba, Fernandez was the National League Rookie of the Year in 2013 and a two-time all-star.
The Dominican Republic produces many major league baseball players. One of them, retired Boston Red Sox star David Ortiz tweeted: “I have not words to describe this. .. R.I.O my boy”
Marte, also a native of the Dominican Republic, was an infielder and had played with the Atlanta Braves, Cleveland Indians and Arizona Diamondbacks. He played for several minor league teams, including the Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
He played the last two seasons with KT Wiz in South Korea, MLB.com reported.
ESPN, citing authorities in the Dominican Republic, reported he was driving a car that struck a house between San Francisco de Macoris and Pimentel, about 95 miles north of Santo Domingo.