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Former Olympian, Jumbo Shrimp Alvarez makes MLB debut

2014 speed skating silver medalist believed to be first U.S. Winter Olympian to play in major leagues
Eddy Alvarez is believed to be the first U.S. Winter Olympian to play in the major leagues. (Britt Moore/Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp)
August 6, 2020

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp infielder Eddy Alvarez debuted Wednesday in the major leagues for the Miami Marlins in a doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A former Olympic silver medalist speed skater, Alvarez is believed to be the first United States Winter

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Former Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp infielder Eddy Alvarez debuted Wednesday in the major leagues for the Miami Marlins in a doubleheader with the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. A former Olympic silver medalist speed skater, Alvarez is believed to be the first United States Winter Olympian to become a Major League Baseball player.

A native of Miami, Alvarez went 0-for-5 while playing both second base and third base in the Marlins’ doubleheader sweep of the Orioles. He is the 51st Jumbo Shrimp alumnus to play in the major leagues.

After graduating in 2008 from Miami’s Christopher Columbus High School, Alvarez passed on a baseball scholarship to St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens) to compete in the 2008 and 2009 World Junior Short Track Speed Skating Championships, winning a gold medal in 2009. However, after narrowly missing out on participating in the 2010 Olympics, Alvarez went back to playing baseball, earning all-conference honors in 2011 for Salt Lake Community College (Utah).

Alvarez returned to speed skating shortly after, rehabbing from surgery on both his knees in early 2012 to make the United States’ 2012 speed skating World Cup Team. In 2014, he became the first Cuban-American male speed skater to make a U.S. Olympic team, ultimately winning a silver medal in the 5,000-meter relay at the Sochi Olympics.

The Chicago White Sox signed Alvarez to a minor league contract on June 10, 2014. After batting .346/.433/.500 in 45 games between the Rookie-level AZL White Sox and Low-A Kannapolis in 2014, Alvarez stole 53 bases and scored 88 runs while slashing .296/.409/.424 in 123 contests over the 2015 campaign with both Kannapolis and High-A Winston-Salem.

From 2016-18, Alvarez reached as high as Triple-A Charlotte before the White Sox traded the infielder in March 2019 to Miami. Alvarez played in one game with Jacksonville before suffering an injury. After a short rehab stint with High-A Jupiter, he was assigned to Triple-A New Orleans, where he posted a .323/.407/.570 batting line with 18 doubles, two triples, 12 home runs, 43 RBIs and 45 runs scored in 66 games.

Alvarez is the fourth Jumbo Shrimp alumnus to debut in the major leagues this season, following right-hander Nick Neidert and left-hander Alex Vesia, who each debuted on July 25 for the Marlins, and outfielder Monte Harrison (August 4, Marlins). In Jacksonville’s Double-A era (1970-present), 553 players have now played both for Jacksonville and in the big leagues.

ABOUT THE JUMBO SHRIMP: The Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp offer affordable family fun at 121 Financial Ballpark. Their inaugural season garnered the Southern League’s Don Mincher Organization of the Year, Promotional Trophy and Jimmy Bragan Executive of the Year, won by general manager Harold Craw. The club added its second Promotional Trophy in three years following the 2019 season. To experience the excitement with the terrific value of ticket and group options, call the Jumbo Shrimp at (904) 358-2846 or visit www.jaxshrimp.com.