Regardless of the outcome in Saturday morning’s gold-medal game between the U.S. and Japan baseball teams, one player is set to make history.
With a silver or gold medal, Eddy Alvarez will join an exclusive club of Olympians who have medaled in both the Summer and Winter Games. The switch-hitting infielder won silver as part of 2014’s 5,000-meter relay team.
Only three Americans have accomplished the feat, including Eddie Eagan — a 1920 boxing gold medalist and member of the 1932 gold-medal four-man bobsled team — and Lauryn Williams – a 2012 gold medalist in the 4x100 relay and 2014 silver-medalist in the two-woman bobsled.
The speed skater cried and received congratulations after the U.S. beat South Korea, clinching the Summer-Winter medal for Alvarez.
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“Yeah, I got emotional because it was a lot of sacrifice,” he said. “I still can’t believe it. I know the job’s not done yet because at the end of the day, one of the only reasons why I came out here is for redemption, to win a gold medal.”
Alvarez’s baseball journey has been long. After signing as an undrafted free agent with the Chicago White Sox in 2014, the 31-year-old bounced around the minor leagues, playing over 500 games there before making his MLB-debut with the Miami Marlins in 2020.
In four games with the national team in 2021, Alvarez has found success. He is hitting .350 with three RBIs, two of which came against defending champ South Korea.
The son of Cuban immigrants was honored earlier this Olympics when he carried the American flag at the opening ceremony two weeks ago. In the Games’ closing weekend, he will join MLB Hall of Fame inductee Jim Thorpe as the only two MLB players to medal in a sport outside baseball.