- SS, DH, 3B
- The Bus
- May 25, 1974
- 5' 9"
- 210 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 8-27-1997 with OAK
- Allstar Selections:
- 2002 MVP, 2004 SS, 2005 AsMVP, 2005 SS
Miguel Odalis Tejada(born on May 25, 1974, in Baní,Dominican Republic) He began his first six seasons of his career with theOakland Athletics, where he began his streak of 1,152consecutive games, that ended with theBaltimore Orioleson June 22, 2007. In 2002, he was awarded theAL MVP award, and he was the MVP of the2005 All-Star Game.
His nickname is "La Gua Gua" which means "the bus" in certain Spanish dialects, as Tejada is known to drive in runs. On February 11, 2009, he pleaded guilty to one count ofperjuryfor lying to Congress in his testimony on whether or notRafael Palmeirolied about his steroid use.
Tejada grew up in extreme poverty inBaní, a city approximately 40 miles (65 km) southwest of Santo Domingo, capital of theDominican Republic. Miguel Tejada grew up idolizing the Baltimore Orioles shortstopCal Ripken Jr. Attended Saint Leo University during the Spring Semester of 2007. Led the Lions in all batting, pitching, and defensive categories.
Tejada developed quickly into a top-notch prospect, showing early signs of power. He reached the Majors towards the end of the1997 season, joining a struggling Oakland Athletics club. Though he only hit .202 in 26 games that year, the A's saw potential in the 23-year-old Tejada. This was bolstered by his performance with the Edmonton Trappers(AAA) in thePacific Coast Leagueduring the season, and returning to the minors to lead the Trappers to a PCL championship that year. He was rewarded with the starting shortstop job beginning in1998.
The A's, and Tejada, steadily improved over the next two years. His hitting improved as he gained more discipline at the plate. In 1998, he hit .233 with 11home runsand in1999his average jumped to .251 with 21 home runs.
After a solid 87-win campaign in 1999, Tejada and a core of young players led their A's to their first American League Western Divisiontitle in eight years in 2000. Bolstered by an American League MVP-winning performance by first baseman Jason Giambi, and aided by Tejada's .275 average and 30 home runs, the A's won 91 games. The A's faced the New York Yankees in the first round of the postseason, which was won by the Yankees 3-2.
In2001, Tejada had a comparable offensive year, hitting .267 with 31 homers. The A'scaptured the American League wild card with a 102-60 record. In thepostseason, however, the A's fell to theYankeesin five games, blowing an initial 2-0 series lead.
Tejada's breakout year came in2002. With the departure of Jason Giambi to theNew York Yankees during the offseason, and a leg injury to slugger Jermaine Dye, the A's lost two of their key offensive players. Tejada hit .308 with 34 homers and led the A's to their second Western Division title in three years. Their campaign included an American League record 20 game winning-streak. Tejada contributed one-out, game-winning hits in the 18th and 19th games of that run: a three-run homer off Minnesota TwinscloserEddie Guardadofor a 7-5 victory and a bases-loaded single against Kansas City Royals reliever Jason Grimsleyto break a 6-6 tie. Tejada also showed modest speed on the basepaths with 18 steals over a two-year stretch. His performance was rewarded with the 2002 American League MVP award. For the third straight year, though, the A's fell in the fifth game of theALDS, this time to the Minnesota Twins.
The next year, both the A's and Tejada got off to a slow start, with the shortstop hitting under.200for the first month of the season. Improved play in the second half of the season led the A's to their second straight Western Division title and their third in four years. Tejada hit .278 with 27 homers for the year, a decrease from his numbers in 2002, but still leading many offensive categories for shortstops.
In an tension-filled series, the powerful offense of the Boston Red Sox narrowly edged out the A's in the first round, once again in five games. Tejada was known for his public display of anger toward Boston starting pitcher Derek Lowe at the series' conclusion for what he perceived as obscene gestures. Lowe denied the accusation, claiming his fist pump was in celebration only.
Baltimore Orioles (2004-07)
By the end of the 2003 season, Tejada had established himself as one of baseball's premier shortstops. The A's elected not to re-sign the free agent, citing budget concerns and a youngBobby Crosbycoming through the system, so Tejada signed a six-year, $72 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles during the offseason.
On arrival in Baltimore, Tejada was given uniform number 10, since 4, his number in Oakland, had been retired for former managerEarl Weaver. As an Oriole, Tejada followed in the footsteps of legendary Baltimore shortstopCal Ripken Jr.. Like Ripken, Tejada is a strong and durable shortstop with unusual power numbers for a middle infielder.
On July 12, 2004, Tejada won theCentury 21Home Run DerbyinHouston. Tejada hit a record 27 homeruns in the contest, including a record 15 homers in the second round. He defeatedHouston Astros outfielder Lance Berkman(who would later become his teammate) 5-4 in the final round of the contest. Both records were broken the following year inDetroitbyBobby Abreu.
Tejada led the league with 150 RBIs in 2004.
On December 8, 2005, it was widely reported by the Associated Pressthat Tejada asked the Orioles for a trade, citing unhappiness with the team's direction. Tejada challenged those statements in an interview withComcast Sportsnet'sKelli Johnson, saying he only asked for a better team, referring to his hope that the Baltimore Orioles would improve after their eighth straight losing season.
Several weeks later, Tejada reiterated his complaints with the Orioles' lack of action and demanded to be traded.Tejada stated that he wants a "good group that helps me to win" and commented briefly on his alleged non-involvement in Palmeiro's steroid scandal. On January 7, 2006, Tejada stated his intent to remain with Baltimore for "the rest of [his] career."This statement was made to Orioles Vice President Jim Duquette in a meeting arranged by mutual friend and teammateMelvin Mora. It was reported that Tejada was claimed by theChicago White Soxoff trade waivers, but the two teams did not make a deal for Tejada.
Tejada's streak was at 1,151 games when he was hit on his left wrist by a pitch on June 20, 2007. The next day, he went up to bunt in the top of the first inning, bunted into a force play, and was replaced by a pinch runner. Following that game, it was announced that he had a broken wrist. On June 22 he was placed on the disabled list, ending his streak at 1,152 consecutive games, the fifth longest in Major League history, behind Cal Ripken, Jr.(2632), Lou Gehrig(2130), Everett Scott(1307), and Steve Garvey(1217).
Houston Astros (2008-09)
On December 12, 2007, Tejada was dealt to the Houston Astros for five players, including SPTroy Patton, OFLuke Scott, RPDennis Sarfateand RP/SPMatt Albers.
Tejada scored his 1,000th career run on July 7, 2008, atPNC Park. In the2008 All-Star GameTejada singled leading off the top of the eighth stole second with one out and advanced to third on a throwing error and scored on Padres' first baseman Adrian Gonzalez"s sacrifice fly.
In the2008 seasonhe grounded into 32 double plays, the most in the major leagues.
In 2009, he again led the majors in grounding into double plays, this time with 29.
Second run with the Orioles (2010)
On January 23, 2010, Tejada signed a one-year; 6 million dollar, contract with the Baltimore Oriolesthe team he previously played for.
San Diego Padres
On July 29, the Orioles traded Tejada to the San Diego Padresfor minor league pitcherWynn Pelzer. On September 22, Tejada hit his 300th careerhome runoffTed Lilly of theLos Angeles Dodgers.
San Francisco Giants
Tejada signed a one-year contract with the San Francisco Giants.
On September 22, 2005,ESPNreported thatRafael Palmeiro, who had tested positive for steroids and was suspended for 10 games under Major League Baseball's steroid policy, implicated Tejada to baseball's arbitration panel, suggesting that a supplement given to him by Tejada was responsible for the steroid entering his system. Tejada has denied the allegations, saying that the only thing he gave Palmeiro was vitamin B-12, a completely legal substance under current MLB policy.
On September 24, 2005, theBaltimore Sunreported that "The Health Policy Advisory Committee, which oversees baseball's testing policy, issued a statement that exonerated Tejada and chastised the media for reporting that he might have distributed steroids to another player."
In José Canseco's 2005 book,Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, he mentions that he believes Tejada might have taken steroids. He claims to have spoken to him about them and the next season seeing him at spring training looking more defined. He never claims to have injected him with them, like he did with Palmeiro, McGwire and other ballplayers.
On September 30, 2006 theLos Angeles Timesreported that former relief pitcherJason Grimsley, during a June 6, 2006 federal raid, told federal agents investigating steroids in baseball named Tejada as a user of "anabolic steroids." TheTimesreported that Tejada was one of five names blacked out in an affidavit filed in federal court. However, on October 3, 2006, theWashington Postreported thatSan FranciscoUnited States attorney Kevin Ryan said that theLos Angeles Timesreport contained "significant inaccuracies."Tejada, along with the other four players named, has denounced the story.
On December 13, 2007, Tejada was mentioned in the Mitchell Report in connection tosteroids. In the report, Tejada is said to have received $1,500 worth of steroids.
A report surfaced on January 15, 2008 stating that Rep.Henry Waxmanhad asked theJustice Departmentto investigate whether Tejada was truthful when speaking to the House committee when being interviewed in 2005 regarding possible connections to Rafael Palmeiro.
On February 10, 2009, Tejada was charged with lying to Congress about performance enhancing drug usage in Major League Baseball. On February 11, Tejada pleaded guilty to charges that he lied to Congress in 2005. He faced up to one year in federal prison and deportation. On March 26, 2009, he received a one year probation.
On April 17, 2008, Tejada was confronted by an ESPN reporter during a sit-down interview with documentation revealing that Tejada had been lying about his age ever since he first signed a Major League Baseball contract in 1993. Tejada had claimed to have been born in 1976 when a Dominican birth certificate showed that he was born in 1974. That birth certificate also shows the spelling of his surname as "Tejeda" rather than "Tejada". He struggled to take off his microphone and kept questioning who the interviewer was referring to. Tejada stormed off the set, effectively ending the interview.
During the MLB offseason, Tejada resides in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Alejandra, his daughter, Alexa, and his son, Miguel Jr. He also plays for theAguilas Cibaenas,Dominican Winter Leagueteam during the MLB offseason.
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