SURPRISE, Ariz. (KSNW) – Former Kansas City Royals’ pitcher Yordano Ventura – affectionately known as “Ace,” was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic. He was 25 years old.
Since the tragedy, nobody on the team has worn his jersey No. 30.
That changed this week. Ventura’s former teammate, Danny Duffy, will pay tribute to his friend and former teammate.
“It definitely wasn’t my idea, but when I was presented with the opportunity I was, one, very humbled, and two, eager to take that chance,” said Duffy. “It’ll be cool. I figured if it’s going to be recirculated, it would be nice for one of the boys who knew him to be able to wear it.”
The Royals’ acquisition of slugger Carlos Santana prompted Duffy to switch his No. 41 in the first place.
“Santana, obviously when he signed… he’s been [No.] 41 his whole career,” said Duffy. “I’m one of those people that’s just happy to be on this team. It’s a very important number to him, and by all means, bro, take it. I want him to feel welcomed.”
He didn’t ask for much in return: “Just give me 30 bombs and a huge on base percentage, play your position, be a good teammate… I know he’s a good dude.”
The organization made the number change official this week on social media, as pitchers and catchers reported to Arizona for spring training. Before that could happen, Duffy sought approval from Ventura’s mother, Marisol.
“I mean that was the only requirement for me… that Marisol was cool with it, so, I was told she was more than happy to allow me to wear it,” said Duffy. “I think that’s really important, and that humbled me even further. It’s a big deal, man, and I’m humbled to be able to wear it.”