On January 22nd, 2017 Dominican professional baseball player Yordano Ventura passed away as a result of a car accident. The World Series winning pitcher of the Kansas City Royals was only 25 years old leaving behind heavy hearts mourning his departure across the Dominican Republic, amongst his Royals teammates, Major League Baseball and in his adopted home of Kansas City. The pitcher was considered to be coming into his prime years and had as much potential as anyone with his tenacity and capable 100mph fastball. For the 2017 season, his former Royals teammates have worn an ACE 30 patch after his Opening Day remembrance. Fellow Dominican player Gregory Polanco of the Pittsburgh Pirates chose to commemorate his fellow countryman with this epic pair of custom baseball cleats.
Polanco looked to the handiwork of Buffalo, NY based sneaker customizer Nicholas Avery aka theheyyman. These started out as a pair of New Balance 3000V in royal blue. With what we consider to be some of the most meticulous detail we’ve ever seen on a pair of customized kicks, theheyyman painted portraits of Ventura in his home white Royals jersey complete with his tattoos. The left features Ventura mid strikeout pitch. The right features a now iconic pose of #30 pointing up to the heavens. This pose became recognizable during the 2014 World Series as Ventura pitched in honor of Oscar Tavares, another fellow Dominican of the St. Louis Cardinals who passed away in a car crash. Ventura’s lights out effort over 7 innings against the San Francisco Giants kept the Royals alive for a game 7 match up.
We’ve yet to hear word if Polanco will grace the field with these. But the bar has definitely been set for custom cleats in the MLB whether these make a game appearance or not. RIP ACE30. 🙁
More custom cleat work from theheyyman can be found on Instagram.com/_theheyyman_