The gut-wrenching news of the recent deaths of Yordano Ventura and Andy Marte came as a shock to anyone that had ever had the pleasure of watching two great baseball players at the professional level.
The two were involved in separate car accidents, but both passed away on Sunday, Jan. 22. Ventura, who was just 25 years old, was a starting pitcher for the Kansas City Royals and was a big contribution in their 2015 World Series run. Marte, 33, spent seven years in Major League Baseball, and his last MLB appearance was in 2014, a game in which Ventura started.
MLB Players Association executive director Tony Clark released a statement of the two tragic deaths.
“We are deeply saddened to learn of the tragic passing of Andy Marte and Yordano Ventura,” Clark said. “It’s never easy to lose a member of our fraternity, and there are no words to describe the feeling of losing two young men in the prime of their lives. Our thoughts and prayers go out to their families, friends, teammates and fans throughout the United States and Latin America.”
Marte played seven season at the top level with the Arizona Diamondbacks, Atlanta Braves and Cleveland Indians, and played both third base and first base. The veteran spent his last two years of baseball playing outside the MLB in the Korean Baseball Organization for the KT Wiz.
The highly rated prospect made an impact on the teams and players he worked with, but it’s his personality that he will be remembered for first. The Cleveland Indians organization released a statement on Twitter after Marte’s death regarding his character.
“Sad to learn of Andy Marte’s death this morning,” the statement read. “He was a genuine person who always greeted you with a warm smile.”
In a conference on the afternoon of Ventura’s death, Royals general manager Dayton Moore released a statement in regards to the abrupt and tragic accident.
“We loved Yordano,” Moore said. “We loved his heart and who he was as a teammate and a friend. He’s somebody that challenged us all and made us better. We’re going to miss him.”
Ventura hit the MLB scene with an immediate impact in his debut to the show in 2013. Though he finished just 0-1 in the three games he appeared in, his hard-throwing, triple digit fastball was what impressed both fans and players. The second you saw his heat, you knew this kid was going to be special. And he was.
Kauffman Stadium lowered their flags on the afternoon of his death, and also hosted a candlelight vigil in honor of their pitcher. Fans dropped off flowers and memora-bilia to pay their respects to one of their favorite players on the Royals.
Baseball players all across the world were all publically saddened by the tragic deaths of Ventura and Marte, including Mike Trout, who tweeted out, “Sad day in the baseball world,” after the news had been released that both men had passed away on the same day.
Marte’s car was traveling at high speed and crashed along the side of a house. His funeral was just hours after the accident on Jan. 22, and was arranged by his family members.
Ventura’s funeral was held on Tuesday, Jan. 24. His teammates carried his coffin to his hometown baseball field. Police reported that both were driving under the influence.