The father of Royals pitcher Edinson Volquez died Tuesday in the Dominican Republic, shortly before his son took the mound to start Game 1 of the World Series against the New York Mets.
Two people familiar with the situation told The Associated Press that 63-year-old Danio Volquez died from heart failure. His son was informed of Volquez's passing on the way to the ballpark, where he was scheduled to make his World Series debut.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity Tuesday night because they were not authorized to discuss the matter.
The elder Volquez, a mechanic in the Dominican Republic, introduced his son to the game when he was about 10 years old. Edinson Volquez often returned home to visit his parents, and said not long ago that they were his biggest supporters while trying to make it in the big leagues.
The 11-year veteran appeared to warm up as if nothing was amiss on a misty evening in Kansas City, then marched stoically to the mound to start the game as the crowd roared.
His first pitch to Mets leadoff hitter Curtis Granderson went for a called strike, and the right-hander went on to retire the side in the first inning. He fanned Daniel Murphy, the hottest hitter this postseason, as the crowd inside Kauffman Stadium chanted, "Eddie! Eddie!"
In a heartbreaking coincidence, Volquez's father is the third parent of player on the Royals' World Series roster to die in the past three months.
Connie Moustakas, the mother of third baseman Mike Moustakas, passed away on Aug. 9 after a battle with cancer. Moustakas honors her every time he steps into the batter's box by scribbling her initials in the dirt with the end of his bat.
Charles Young, the father of Chris Young, died of cancer on Sept. 26 — the day before his son made his first start for Kansas City in two months. Chris Young responded by throwing five no-hit innings before leaving the game to be with his family.
Young is scheduled to start Game 4 of the World Series in New York.