Hours before the Royals’ home opener on Monday, pitcher Danny Duffy reached above his stall in the clubhouse and opened a storage space, revealing a treasure trove of memorabilia.
Duffy then opened the doors at the top of his stall, and even more items were stuffed inside.
Every one of the artifacts was a likeness of, or tribute to, Yordano Ventura. It’s all part of Duffy’s collection.
Shortly after Ventura’s death in January, Duffy decided he would collect Ventura items and send them to Ventura’s mom, Marisol Hernández, in the Dominican Republic.
One of the first items he bought was a Ventura bobblehead on eBay. Duffy had intended to acquire it discreetly, but after the news got out on Twitter, others wanted to send items to him, too.
He has gladly accepted it all.
“There is just so much,” Duffy said.
Although there he hasn’t counted all the pieces, the response has been overwhelming. But Duffy is not surprised.
“I think this city kind of speaks for itself as far as the support that they have for us and the love that they have for us,” he said. “At first, honestly, I was a little bit bothered that my eBay handle was tweeted out, but in hindsight, it’s a pretty useful thing. It’s pretty cool that people reacted the way that they did. I hope his mom really enjoys the stuff that we send her.”
Among the more unusual items Duffy has received is a 6-by-3-foot billboard for a Ventura bobblehead.
Duffy said Christa Dubill of KSHB-TV gave him that.
“Yeah, she’s a sweetheart,” Duffy said of Dubill.
Last month, Duffy tweeted that Royals fans who wanted to contribute to the collection could drop off items at TopSpeed Strength and Conditioning in Lenexa.
While Ventura’s mom was at the Royals game Monday, Duffy said he would ship the memorabilia to her because there are too many items to lug on a flight. Duffy is hoping to get the special package sent out during the Royals’ second home stand, April 28-May 7.
But Duffy had hoped to see her before the game.
“I’m gonna do my best to,” Duffy said. “Gonna give her a hug.”