It’s a dark day for baseball.
In what seems to be becoming a troubling trend, Royals starting pitcher Yordano “Ace” Ventura and former Braves, Indians, and DBacks infielder Andy Marte were both killed last night in separate car accidents in the Dominican Republic.
Marte was 33 and had not appeared in MLB since 2014—his last game, ironically, being against Ventura. Ventura was only 25.
Ventura had been very close friends with former Cardinal Oscar Taveras, who died along with his girlfriend in a car accident the Dominican Republic in 2014. Taveras was only 22. It came out after his death that Taveras was under the influence of alcohol at the time of his death, and early reports are suggesting the same might have been true for Ventura.
Less is known so far about the circumstances of Marte’s separate fatal car crash. Both Marte and Ventura were the lone passengers in their respective vehicles.
In addition to Taveras, Ventura’s and Marte’s deaths follow the tragic loss of Marlins pitching star Jose Fernandez last fall. Fernandez was killed in a boating incident in which alcohol was also found to play a part.
Remembering Yordano Ventura's touching tribute to Jose Fernandez and Oscar Taveras - three talents gone too soon. pic.twitter.com/UeTvx4QZdw— MLB (@MLB) January 22, 2017
Twins pitching prospect Yorman Landa, 22, was killed in a car accident in his native Venezuela last month. In that case, alcohol did not seem to play a role. Landa wasn’t even driving the vehicle, but this entire trend of Latino players dying in vehicular accidents seems alarming...
The Royals will be opening the 2017 season against the Twins at Target Field on April 3rd. I expect the Twins will hold a tribute to the Royals’ loss before the game.