Game one of the World Series suddenly became about much more than just baseball on Tuesday night after news broke that Kansas City Royals starting pitcher Edinson Volquez’s father had passed away.
There were conflicting reports emerging as to whether or not Volquez was aware that his father had passed away. ESPN first said that the Royals could not confirm the reports and that Volquez only heard of the news on his way into the stadium.
However, ESPN’s Marly Rivera reported this:
Although FOX Sports had initially stated it would not report on the death during the broadcast, Ken Rosenthal spoke about the emotional moment after Volquez exited the game. It was the first time all night that anyone had officially confirmed information:
Stay here for all the latest updates on this tragic story. Here’s what you need to know about Daniel Volquez:
1. Volquez Died at Age 63
According to initial reports, Volquez passed away after battling heart disease. He was 63 years old. Daniel Volquez, or Danio as he was known to his family and friends, worked as a mechanic and bought his son his very first baseball glove.
According to ESPN, Volquez learned of his father’s death on his way to Kauffman Stadium. Nonetheless, he went through warmups as scheduled.
Volquez is the second Royals pitcher lose a parent in the past month. Chris Young, the squad’s Game 4 starter, lost his father, Charles, to cancer in September. The next day, Young pitched five perfect innings before leaving the game to be with his family.
2. The Royals Said Volquez Did Not Know About His Father’s Death
The reports coming out of Kansas City were incredibly conflicting on Tuesday night as a handful of different media outlets reported a variety of different game-time situations.
According to ESPN’s Enrique Rojas, Volquez learned about the death of his father on the way into the ballpark. However, the Royals told The Kansas City Star that Volquez has no knowledge of his father’s death.
Volquez, who pitched a perfect first inning, was warming up when the first tweets reporting his father’s death hit social media.
3. Volquez Passed Away in the Dominican Republic
Daniel Volquez reportedly passed away in the Dominican Republic, where he first introduced baseball to his son.
Edinson Volquez was nine or ten years old when he first started playing baseball and says that he counted his parents as some of his biggest and most consistent reporters. Volquez told The San Diego Tribune in 2012:
It was good for me because my mom and dad always took care of me. I started playing baseball when I was 9 or 10 and they took care of me. It was easy for me. I never had a job (laughs). The only thing I did was go to school and play baseball.
Volquez regularly returned home to the Dominican Republic during the offseason, usually spending four months with his family before starting Spring Training. He and his wife, as well as their twin daughters, regularly went home and even visited the house he grew up in.
Volquez bought that house and it now sits unoccupied and unfurnished, but it’s his.
4. Edinson Volquez Was Making His First World Series Start
After back and forth between Royals manager Ned Yost and the entire baseball media, Kansas City announced that Volquez would be the team’s starter for Game 1 of the World Series.
It was the right-hander’s first-ever World Series start.
He finished the regular season 13-9 with a 3.55 ERA and was 1-2 with a 4.32 ERA in three starts during the postseason.
5. The Volquez Family Faced Scrutiny When It Emerged That He Signed His First MLB Contract Under an Assumed Name
When he first signed with the Texas Rangers in 2001, at the age of 17, Edinson Volquez played under the name Julio Reyes. However, it was soon discovered that the name was an assumed moniker after an immigration crackdown in 2003.
According to reports, Volquez was told by a scout that in order to sign his $20,000 check, he would have to change his name and shave a year and a half off his age. Volquez explained to ESPN:
A lot of the players in the Dominican change their name. If you go one year lower, you’re gonna get more money. It’s all about money. I was ready, I had that on my mind all the time. Some guys forgot their names. You’d say ‘Hey, Eddie, Eddie!’ They didn’t pay attention or turn back. I was ready. I was ready all the time.