Alvarado masquerades as Phils' 'jeweler' with hand-beaded necklaces

October 6th, 2023

ATLANTA -- is known as a man of many talents as the back end of the Phillies' bullpen. He touts a blistering 99 mph sinker paired with a devastating cutter, plus a miniscule 1.74 ERA in the regular season to match. When he pitches, there’s an undeniable passion and fire that erupts with every big strikeout, much like his moment to retire Yuli Gurriel in Game 1 of the National League Wild Card Series.

But perhaps his most underappreciated skill -- at least by the fans -- is his capability as an amateur jeweler. The 28-year-old lefty has developed into the go-to craftsman in the Phillies' clubhouse, making necklaces adorned with colored beads for each player. And suffice to say, they’re a massive hit among the guys.

“At first I didn’t see him putting them together,” Brandon Marsh said. “I just saw him come out to practice with a sweet chain on. I’m like, ‘OK, Alvy! I know you got it like that, but man.’ I thought they were completely real [like diamonds]. Then I started seeing other people wearing them and thought, ‘Oh, I just didn’t get the memo, Alvy must not like me.’”

Alvarado’s newfound passion project began out of necessity. He wanted a necklace for himself that represented the colors of the Venezuelan flag, so he reached out to a jeweler online to commission one. When the seller didn’t respond to his message, Alvarado took matters into his own hands.

He went online to purchase the materials himself and went to work. He bought a box of yellow, red, blue and white beads, strung them onto a necklace and popped up to a workout rocking them soon after. Little did he know that it would be the first of many necklaces he’d be making.

“I bought the beads and made the necklace,” Alvarado said. “And [Bryce] Harper said, ‘Hey Alvy, I want one for me.’ I said, 'OK,' and then I went and started to make a necklace for everybody on my team. And that was it.”

“I saw [Alvarado] making them [in his locker] the following day,” Marsh said. “I think it’s awesome, all the guys are wearing them.”

Alvarado’s burgeoning necklace business is a labor of love. He’s bought a countless number of beads that he can barely recall -- “I bought like 20 colors, and every packet has 240 beads. … It’s a lot,” he said -- now mostly red, white and blue to match the team’s color palette. Demand has increased past the Phillies' clubhouse and into the families of the players. Alvarado has made the necklaces for the children of players like starter Zack Wheeler, and Marsh said that his mom and sister both have asked for one.

Alvarado, who said that he’s taken the mantle of the craftsmaker in his own home, is happy to fulfill every request that the Phillies' players and their families make. He just hopes they’re willing to wait a bit.

“I make them for everybody,” Alvarado said. “The only thing I need is time to make it, because you know, right now it’s busy. It’s not too hard to make it, you just need time.”

Even while Alvarado is humble about his one-man necklace factory, the efficiency at which he puts his pieces together has impressed onlookers.

“I know it would take me about twice, maybe three times as long,” Marsh said. “But he gets to work. He gets in his chair, puts it all together. I’d say he probably gets it done in about two minutes and 14 seconds.”

Much has been made about the Phillies’ uncanny team chemistry heading into the NL Division Series against the Braves. For a team that’s seemingly hit a stride at the perfect time, fueled by back-breaking timely home runs and clutch moments from its pitching staff, there’s a belief that this stretch would not be possible without the relationships between each other. 

“This group has a lot of fun, little things like the necklaces and shirts,” Marsh said. “It just goes on and on, just having a good time and we’re just playing for each other.”

Alvarado is certainly a key cog in the machine of brotherly love. Before Game 2 of the NL Wild Card Series, fellow reliever Jeff Hoffman shared that Alvarado will go around the clubhouse with a clipboard and take everyone’s coffee order so he can bring them a cup before the game.

Alvarado finds simple joy in providing happiness for his teammates, whether it be with strikeouts on the mound or necklaces in their lockers. He can’t even choose a favorite necklace that he’s made, he loves them all equally.

“It’s awesome. … I’m very happy to see people using the necklaces I make,” Alvarado said.

And for his teammates around him, the fact that he takes the time out of his day to create something for each of them means the world.

“I might be looking too deep, but I feel like it’s a piece of unity,” Marsh said. “All of us rocking the same thing. And made by the tender, loving care of Alvy. It’s just another thing that’s just bringing us all together.

“You can go out and buy the $1,000 chain, you can get the quick Amazon Prime beaded necklace. But this, it just adds a little flavor to the Phils.”