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7 U.S. Olympic Baseball Players Who Are Still Going Strong In MLB 10 Years After Beijing

By Todd Kortemeier | Aug. 23, 2018, 2:59 p.m. (ET)

Members of the men's baseball team receive their bronze medals at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008 on Aug. 23, 2008 in Beijing. 


On Aug. 23, 2008, the U.S. Olympic baseball team rebounded from its semifinal loss to Cuba to beat Japan and win the bronze medal at the Olympic Games Beijing 2008. 

It would be the last Olympic baseball game for Team USA for at least 12 years.

Starting in November 2019, a new team of rising American baseball stars will take the field to qualify for their sport’s return to the Olympic program in Tokyo in 2020. But many members of the 2008 bronze-medal team are still going strong in Major League Baseball. Of the 24 players in Beijing, 22 made it to the MLB. And seven of them are still playing.

Here’s a look at where those players are now.

1) Brett Anderson, Pitcher

Brett Anderson pitches for the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 10, 2018 in Anaheim, Calif.


In Beijing: Anderson went 1-0 with a 4.98 ERA and got the win in the bronze-medal game against Japan.

In MLB: Anderson made his MLB debut in 2009 with the Oakland A’s, making 30 starts and finishing sixth in Rookie of the Year voting. After stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs and Toronto Blue Jays, Anderson returned to Oakland for 2018, and has put together his best season since 2015 for the American League West-leading A’s.t.”

2) Jake Arrieta, Pitcher

Jake Arrieta pitches for the Philadelphia Phillies on July 20, 2018 in Philadelphia. 


In Beijing: Arrieta pitched in one game for Team USA, allowing two hits in six shutout innings to beat China.

In MLB: After a slow start to his career with the Baltimore Orioles, Arrieta became one of the best pitchers in baseball after being traded to the Cubs. Arrieta won the Cy Young Award in 2015 and won a World Series ring in 2016. Arrieta signed as a free agent with the Philadelphia Phillies in March and is in the top 10 of the National League in ERA.

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3) Trevor Cahill, Pitcher

Trevor Cahill pitches for the Oakland Athletics on Aug. 18, 2018 in Oakland, Calif.


In Beijing: Cahill had a 2.25 ERA in two games, both against tournament favorites in Cuba and Japan.

In MLB: Cahill and Anderson were both rookies on the 2009 A’s. Cahill made his only All-Star Game appearance the next year. After stints with five different teams, Cahill — again like Anderson — returned to the A’s in 2018. In 15 starts he is 5-2 with a 3.12 ERA, the second-best ERA of his career as a starter.”

4) Brian Duensing, Pitcher

Brian Duensing pitches for the Chicago Cubs on June 23, 2018 in Cincinnati.


In Beijing: Duensing was one of the last players added to the Olympic roster and allowed three hits in 7 2/3 innings, picking up the win in relief of a 5-4 win over Canada.

In MLB: Duensing was a part-time starter and part-time reliever with the Minnesota Twins from 2009 to 2015. He has been with the Cubs since 2017 but has struggled this year to a 7.34 ERA in 43 appearances..”

5) Dexter Fowler, Outfielder

Dexter Fowler hits a single for the St. Louis Cardinals on April 12, 2018 in Cincinnati.


In Beijing: Fowler was the starting center fielder for Team USA and had his best performance in a 4-2 win over Chinese Taipei in which he went 3-for-3 with an RBI and run scored.

In MLB: Fowler debuted with the Colorado Rockies later that summer, and the speedster led the NL in triples in 2010. He was an All-Star with the Cubs in 2016 before going to the St. Louis Cardinals in 2017. He has struggled through an injury-plagued 2018, hitting .180 with eight home runs and 31 RBIs in 90 games.

6) Kevin Jepsen, Pitcher

Kevin Jepsen pitches for the Texas Rangers on May 19, 2018 in Chicago.


In Beijing: Jepsen pitched in four games, allowing no runs and closing out the last two innings of the bronze-medal game.

In MLB: Jepsen made his MLB debut later that summer with the Los Angeles Angels. After bouncing around the minors in 2017, Jepsen made his return to MLB in 2018. He pitched in 21 games for the Texas Rangers before being released in May.

7) Stephen Strasburg, Pitcher

Stephen Strasburg pitches for the Washington Nationals on June 1, 2018 in Atlanta.


In Beijing: A sophomore at San Diego State, Strasburg was the only amateur on Team USA. He was 1-1 with a 1.64 ERA, including a seven-inning, one-hit performance against the Netherlands.

In MLB: Strasburg has been one of the best pitchers in baseball since making his debut in 2010. A three-time All-Star, he is fifth among active pitchers in career ERA. The 30-year-old has dealt with a neck injury that has sidelined him since July, posting a career-high 3.90 ERA through 14 starts.

Todd Kortemeier is a sportswriter, editor and children’s book author from Minneapolis. He is a contributor to TeamUSA.org on behalf of Red Line Editorial, Inc.

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