Beyond baseball: Yordan's family watches him in person for 1st time

Mom, dad and brother from Cuba see slugger play in the Majors

August 24th, 2022

HOUSTON -- Astros slugger Yordan Alvarez nervously looked up into the stands at Minute Maid Park just prior to Tuesday’s game against the Twins in search of a familiar face in an unfamiliar spot. This was a big day for the family, considering it was the first time his parents and his 14-year-old brother were going to see him play professional baseball.

“So the whole [top half of the first] inning, I was looking to the stands to see when I could see them,” he said. “That first at-bat, I was super nervous and super anxious knowing they hadn’t seen me play in a while.”

Alvarez grounded out in his first at-bat of the 4-2 win over the Twins and finished 1-for-4 at the plate, but stats didn’t matter on this day. The smiling face of his father, Auguistin Eduardo Alvarez, the tears in the eyes of his mother, Marilyn Cadogan Reyes Salazar, and the sight of his brother, Yonder Alvarez Cadogan, made it a day to never forget.

“It means everything,” Alvarez said. “Obviously, coming to the United States is not easy. When I arrived here, I arrived by myself. I knew I had their support, but they weren’t here and just the process of them getting here just took so long. So I think for them to be here, I think they needed some time to take it in and say ‘We’re actually here.’”

According to the Astros, Alvarez originally defected from Cuba in 2016 and established residence in Haiti with his family. While there, he signed with the Dodgers as an international free agent on June 15, 2016, and he was traded to the Astros six weeks later before even playing a game in the Dodgers’ organization.

The rest is history. Alvarez, 25, was the unanimous American League Rookie of the Year in 2019, the Most Valuable Player of the 2021 AL Championship Series and has blossomed into one of the game’s top sluggers, making his first All-Star Game this year.

He said he hasn’t spent more than a couple of days with his family since he left the Dominican Republic back in 2016, though he briefly visited the D.R. earlier this year and saw them. 

“I was able to speak with them almost every day,” Alvarez said. “We talk about how the game the night before went and how things are. I don’t think I have specific advice they give me, but I was always talking to them.”

Alvarez credited Astros owner Jim Crane with being among a “lot of people” that helped his parents come to the U.S. The Astros said his family arrived in Houston on Friday, by way of stops in the Dominican Republic and Mexico.

“Some people gave me their word: They were going to help me bring them here and thankfully, they did,” Alvarez said. 

The 25-year-old wasn’t sure how long his family will be able to stay in Houston. He wants to see their faces in the stands every night.

“Hopefully, they can stay here forever,” he said.