The memory of his close friend and fallen former teammate, Yordano Ventura, remains embedded in Eric Hosmer. When Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in February of last year, the tragedy shook Hosmer and the Royals organization.Though Hosmer has left Kansas City and since
The memory of his close friend and fallen former teammate, Yordano Ventura, remains embedded in Eric Hosmer. When Ventura was killed in a car accident in his native Dominican Republic in February of last year, the tragedy shook Hosmer and the Royals organization.
Though Hosmer has left Kansas City and since signed an eight-year, $144 million contract with the Padres, he will bring an homage to Ventura with him -- Hosmer will don uniform No. 30, the number Ventura wore when they were Royals teammates.
Hosmer was known to have a close relationship with Ventura, and the first baseman was even seen to be a mentor to the young pitcher. Hosmer spoke on behalf of the Royals organization in a pregame ceremony remembering Ventura ahead of Kansas City's home opener last year, its first home game since Ventura had been killed at the age of just 25. Hosmer also wore an arm band reading "Ace 30" during the World Baseball Classic to pay tribute to Ventura.
"I spoke to [coach] Glenn Hoffman yesterday and I know he wears No. 30 and basically told him it would mean a lot to me if I can wear No. 30 and continue Yordano's legacy," Hosmer said during his introductory news conference on Tuesday. "It really meant a lot to me and Hoff was more than open of letting me carry on that number. And like I told him, I'll wear it with pride each and every day and it's something that myself and the core guys with Kansas City want to continue to make sure that Yordano's legacy is lived out."
Hosmer had previously worn No. 35, which was retired by the Padres in recognition of 1976 National League Cy Young Award winner Randy Jones, who pitched for the club from 1973-80.
Daniel Kramer is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. Follow him on Twitter at @DKramer_.