Tejada acknowledges age discrepancy
Shortstop is actually two years older than previously believed
By Andy Jasner / Special to MLB.com
PHILADELPHIA -- Miguel Tejada just aged two years.
Astros general manager Ed Wade was recently informed that Tejada was actually born on May 25, 1974, as opposed to May 25, 1976, as listed in the club's media guide. The slick-fielding Astros shortstop is actually 33 years old and will soon be 34.
"In the course of media interviews, it was brought to our attention that the date we carry for Tejada, the year of birth, is incorrect," Wade said. "His green card, his driver's license, everything that he uses personally shows '74 as his date of birth. In the media guide, that type of information shows '76. We told Miguel we were going to go ahead and make the appropriate changes and all the information was put forward. But the fact of the matter is he's playing like he was 25."
Wade and Tejada came forth with the revelation after it became clear ESPN had the information regarding Tejada's actual age.
According to a report on ESPN.com, "E:60" correspondent Tom Farrey, during an interview with Tejada at Citizens Bank Park on Tuesday, showed the Astros shortstop a copy of the birth certificate, filed by the shortstop's father in his hometown of Bani in the Dominican Republic. The certificate showed that Tejada was born in 1974.
The document, according to ESPN.com, was acquired by a Dominican law firm hired by ESPN after clerks at the town hall in Bani declared -- improperly -- that his records were confidential.
"E:60," an hour-long investigative show on ESPN, plans to air its report on Tejada on April 22 at 6 p.m. CT. During his interview with Tejada, Farrey asked Tejada how old he was, and Tejada answered, "32."
Farrey then showed Tejada a copy of the birth certificate and asked the shortstop if it was the real one. Tejada said "probably" and promptly ended the interview, saying the information was "personal."
Tejada was originally signed by Oakland Athletics scout and Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal as a non-drafted free agent on July 17, 1993, supposedly at the age of 17, but did not begin play until the following season. As it turns out, Tejada was really 19. Tejada eventually made his debut with the A's on Aug. 27, 1997.
Tejada's reason for the discrepancy was rather simple.
"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."
Wade had a talk with Tejada and resolved the issue.
"We just decided to get in front of the issue and put it behind us," Wade said. "He was fine with that. Baseball has been dealing with this issue and has done a very good job over the last, probably, 10 years of verifying the ages of first-year players coming out of Latin America."
Tejada is off to a good start with the Astros this season, hitting .328 with three home runs and 11 RBIs. He doesn't believe the disclosure will be any type of distraction at all.
"It's something that happened the first time I signed my contract," Tejada said. "I had no intention of doing anything wrong. And now I feel like I'm 25 years old, maybe younger. I feel my legs are stronger than I used to be feeling. I feel great. I have a lot of energy."