Friends of Royals pitcher Yordano Ventura built a memorial at the site of his crash in Juan Ádrian, Dominican Republic. They completed it a few months after his death on Jan. 22, 2017. Submitted photo |

Yordano Ventura’s friends built this memorial at his crash site in the Dominican

When he died in an early-morning crash in the mountainous interior of his native Dominican Republic last year, the only obvious signs of Yordano Ventura’s fatal incident were skid marks on the highway and the broken pieces of guardrail through which his Jeep had crashed.

These days, the crash site in Juan Ádrian bears a tribute to Ventura. Friends who’d grown close to Ventura in the last year of his life put the memorial together.

A small, white house sits atop a rock painted white, a few yards from where Ventura’s Jeep flipped onto its side. Candles burn inside. A laminated poster with a picture of Ventura is attached beneath the house, printed with messages in Spanish that say, “Your humility was your best quality,” and, “You left a mark on every heart you touched.”

Surrounding rocks, also painted white, bear Ventura’s name and his nickname ACE 30 in blue. A crucifix stands nearby. Friends also installed a small bench to bridge the two rocks.

Frank Burgos said Ventura’s friends plan to gather at the site this week to reminisce and play music for Ventura.

“That’s what he loved, the music,” said Burgos, who met Ventura when the pitcher sought him out to install a large stereo system in one of his vehicles. “His favorite hobby.”

The Juan Ádrian memorial is one of several tributes to Ventura’s memory.

Carlos Santana, the former Indians first baseman who signed with the Phillies this winter, put on his annual charity softball tournament in the Dominican in Ventura’s name last month.

Ventura inspired so many Dominican children that a search of Instagram hashtags “ACE30” or “RIPVentura,” as well as a glance at images in which Ventura was tagged on his account (@venturayordano), yields results of baseball players learning his unique throwing motion and others lamenting his sudden passing.

 

Siguiendo tus pasos ventura 30

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“I don’t think Yordano knew what he was,” said Burgos, whose own 11-year-old was mentored by Ventura. “There are so many kids, the way he threw, the way he played, they admired him.

“Yordano, you could have asked him for a photo and he stopped what he was doing. He didn’t tell anyone no. He was so different from other ballplayers. He was so humble.”


Yordano Ventura’s friends built this memorial at his crash site in the Dominican