Originally posted on Larry Brown Sports  |  Last updated 6/8/12

Alexei Ramirez received a wonderful surprise on Friday when he was presented with a replacement gold medal from the 2004 Olympics.

The White Sox shortstop was part of Cuba’s gold medal winning team at the Olympics in ’04, but his medal had been missing since 2008 when his wife traveled from the Dominican Republic — where his family first settled after defecting from Cuba — to Chicago. Ramirez even said in March that he periodically checked eBay to see if he could find it.

Thankfully he no longer has to worry about that.

The White Sox arranged a surprise ceremony before Friday’s game against the Astros to present Ramirez with a replacement gold medal. Not only that, but they had Jose Contreras, his close Cuban friend, hand it to him.

“I wasn’t expecting this,” Ramirez said, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. “I spoke to [Contreras] this morning and he said he was in Los Angeles. So when I saw him with the medal, it left me speechless.”

The White Sox had been in contact with the International Olympic Committee about replacing the medal, and team owner Jerry Reinsdorf paid for the costs. As a thank you present, Ramirez gave him a box of Cuban cigars.

Photo credit: Scott Merkin

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