In 1993, when a young man named Miguel Tejada, from Bani in the Dominican Republic, signed a contract with Oakland, he told them his date of birth was May 25, 1976. He went on to become a four-time All-Star and won the AL MVP award in 2002. After the 2003 season he signed a six-year, $72 million contract with Baltimore before being traded to the Houston Astros in December. He's also been tainted by accusations of steroid use, being named in the Mitchell Report.
We still don't know the truth regarding those accusations, but Tejada's come clean about one thing. He's informed the Astros that he was actually born in 1974, not 1976. A coach in his hometown encouraged him to say he was only 17 when the A's first signed him.
"I was a poor kid," Tejada said. "I wanted to sign a professional contract, and that was the only way to do it. I didn't want or mean to do anything wrong. At the time, I was two years older than they thought."
Astros general manager Ed Wade says that all of Tejada's legal documents, such as his green card and driver's license, have his correct date of birth. Only the team's media guide and other such baseball records had the incorrect date. Perhaps baseball teams should take a cue from bars and nightclubs and start carding their players now and then? -- Joe Guckin