The sudden and tragic passing of Yordano Ventura was a shock to the Kansas City Royals organization. He was a major part of the heartbeat and soul of the team, a fiery competitor whose refusal to back down helped give the Royals their attitude. In some ways, the franchise never recovered from his loss, as he left a void both on the mound and in the clubhouse.
That loss may have been felt most by Danny Duffy, who is still looking to honor his friend as the years continue to pass. He will do so this year by wearing Ventura’s number, having gotten the go ahead from his friend’s mother and the approval of current and former teammates.
Kansas City Royals and Danny Duffy will never forget Yordano Ventura
Duffy and Ventura had been tied together for years. The Royals had signed both pitchers to long term extensions, expecting that they would continue to lead the franchise to glory into the current decade. Although Kansas City had a disappointing 81-81 record in 2016, that was mainly due to injuries. They expected to be right back in contention the following year.
And then, tragedy struck. Ventura was killed in a car accident in the Dominican Republic – there was heavy fog that day and he was not wearing a seat belt when the accident occurred. His passing left a major void in the rotation, the clubhouse, and the franchise.
His loss was felt particularly hard by Duffy. He had given himself a mission to collect all of Ventura’s memorabilia possible to gift to the mother of his fallen teammate. While he still had some solid moments, Duffy never seemed to recover from that loss, struggling to find his way as the years went on.
But now, maybe he will have a degree of closure. If there was anyone in the organization who deserved to wear Ventura’s number, it was Duffy. He is the right player to further Ventura’s legacy and to honor what he meant to the Royals and his teammates. And once Duffy’s time with the organization is over, that number should never be issued again.
Danny Duffy is set to honor Yordano Ventura by wearing his number in 2021. No one else on the Kansas City Royals should wear it afterward.