Before some Major Leaguers were flashed on highlight reels, they were cast members on the biggest sports stage in the world: the Olympics. Although baseball didn't officially become a medal-earning sport until 1992, sluggers have competed at 12 Olympiads, dating to 1904. However, this year may be baseball's last run as it was cut from the 2012 Games in London. Anticipating a possible baseball finale, here's a look at some familiar major leaguers who played in the Olympics.
2 of 17John Iacono/SI
McGwire wasn't his usual, or future, self at the '84 games, as he went 4-for-21 with no homers in Los Angeles. The Americans still got a gold medal, though.
3 of 17John Iacono/SI
Alongside numerous future Major League opponents, Surhoff served as catcher for the 1984 U.S. team, taking home a gold while he was still in college.
4 of 17Chuck Solomon/SI
Ending a three-year international slump for the United States, Martinez ripped two home runs and drove in four runs to lead his team to a 5-3 victory against Japan for the gold.
5 of 17V.J. Lovero/SI
In the gold medal-winning game against Japan, Ventura set up Tino Martinez with a single to right field. Martinez clocked a 410-foot homer on the next pitch, driving the two home for a 2-1 lead. Ventura batted .409 during the Seoul Games.
6 of 17Robert Beck/SI
The Americans didn't win a medal in '92, but the shortstop hit .200 in Barcelona before his career really took off in the majors. Six All-Star appearances may have made up for the Olympic medal short-fall.
7 of 17John Iacono/SI
Hernandez went 1-0 on the mound with a 5.40 ERA at the Barcelona Olympics. The Cubans struck gold that year.
8 of 17Mike Powell/Getty Images
Three years before he made it in the Big Leagues, Giambi hit .296 for the fourth-place U.S. team in Barcelona -- as a side to his minor league career.
9 of 17Brad Mangin/SI
The current Bean-town captain managed to avenge his no-show at the Olympic podiums with a plethora of trophies -- including a World Series title -- at multiple levels of baseball. In '92, though, he hit .296 as a catcher for the U.S.
10 of 17V.J. Lovero/SI
In addition to his World Series MVP trophy, Glaus has an Olympic bronze medal, which he earned in Atlanta.
11 of 17V.J. Lovero/SI
Fukudome's claim to fame: He became the youngest baseball Olympian ever when he played for silver medalist Japan at the ripe old age of 19. Eight years later in Greece, he added a bronze to his collection.
12 of 17John Biever/SI
A current stud in Milwaukee, Sheets led the U.S. to a gold medal in Sydney, pitching 22 innings and retiring 11 batters. In the final game, he pitched a complete game shutout, allowing just one runner to advance to second base the entire game.
13 of 17AP
As teammate Ben Sheets produced on the mound for the 2000 USA Team, Mientkiewicz lead the Americans to the finals with his game-winning homer in the semis against South Korea.
14 of 17
Oswalt pitched the Americans past South Korea, 3-2 in the semifinals.
15 of 17John Biever/SI
He didn't have the athletic stature to compete on the field, but as a manager he was tops in 2000. Coming out of retirement, he guided Team U.S.A. to a gold medal, defeating powerhouse Cuba in the finals.
16 of 17Mark Dadswell/Getty Images
The Yankees' ace was formerly Taiwan's ace. The two-time Olympic all-star allowed only three hits and didn't give up a walk against Australia in the preliminary round of the 2004 Games. He even retired nine straight batters en route to a victory that day.
17 of 17 Robert Laberge/Getty Images
The man who charged $51 million just for the right to speak to him also took control on the Olympic stage, where he played for two Japanese teams and racked up a 93-45 record in six seasons. At 23, Dice-K helped Japan to a bronze medal in Greece.
You May Like
Sign Up for our Newsletter
Don't get stuck on the sidelines! Sign up to get exclusives, daily highlights, analysis and more—delivered right to your inbox!