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Miguel Tejada

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Full Name: Miguel Odalis (Martinez) Tejada Primary Position: SS
Height/Weight: 5' 10"/170 First Game: August 27, 1997
Birthdate: May 25, 1976 MLB Experience: 10 years
Birthplace: Bani, Peravia (Dominican Republic)
Bat/Throw: Right/Right


Biography

Miguel Tejada (Miguel Odalis (Martinez) Tejada) was born on May 25, 1976 in Bani, Peravia (Dominican Republic). He made his Major League debut on August 27, 1997 for the Oakland Athletics. In 1998, his rookie year, he hit .233 with 11 home runs and 45 RBI. Tejada played for the Oakland Athletics and Baltimore Orioles over the course of his 10 year career.

Most people believe that Miguel Tejada's best season was 2004, when he slugged 34 home runs, hit for a .311 average and knocked in 150 runs.

Early life

Tejada grew up in extreme poverty in Bani, a city approximately 40 miles southwest of Santo Domingo, capital of the Dominican Republic. His chlidhood dream of playing professional baseball was realized when he was signed by the Oakland Athletics at the age of seventeen in 1993. His signing bonus was $2000.

Oakland A's

Tejada developed quickly into a top-notch prospect, showing early signs of power. He reached the majors towards the end of the 1997 season, joining a struggling Oakland Athletics club. Though he only hit .202 in 26 games that year, the A's saw potential in the 21-year-old Tejada and gave him the starting shortstop job beginning in 1998.

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 11 home runs and in 1999 his 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 Division title 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 90 games. The A's faced the New York Yankees in the first round of the postseason, which was won by the Yankees 3-2 in Oakland. The Yankees would go on to win the World Series that year, their fourth championship in five years.

In 2001, Tejada had a comparable offensive year, hitting .267 with 31 homers. The A's captured the American League wild card with a 102-60 record. In the postseason, however, the A's fell to the Yankees in five games, blowing an initial 2-0 series lead.

Tejada's breakout year came in 2002. With the departure of Jason Giambi to the New 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 win-streak. Tejada contributed one-out, game-winning hits in the 18th and 19th games of that run: a three-run homer off Minnesota Twins closer Eddie Guardado for a 7-5 victory and a bases-loaded single against Kansas City Royals reliever Jason Grimsley to 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 the ALDS, 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 .200 for 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 a 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 overly triumphant gestures.

Baltimore Orioles

By the end of the 2003 season, Tejada had established himself as one of baseball's premier shortstops. The A's elected not to resign the free agent, citing budget concerns, and Tejada signed a six-year, $72 million deal with the Baltimore Orioles during the offseason.

As an Oriole, Tejada follows in the footsteps of legendary Baltimore shortstop Cal Ripken Jr.. Like Ripken, Tejada is a strong and durable shortstop with unusual power numbers for a middle infielder. Ripken currently holds baseball's record for consecutive games played at 2,632. Tejada currently stands at seventh on the all-time consecutive games list with 943 games (needs update). Were he not to miss a game, he would approach Ripken's record in 2016. Tejada has repeatedly asserted that he is not interested in breaking Ripken's record.

Teammate Brian Roberts told Peter Gammons that Tejada is the best player in the game because, "He has an uncanny ability to knock in runs ... his energy. He is always up, pushing everyone and making the entire team better." Orioles' hitting instructor Terry Crowley said, "This franchise changed the day he arrived."

During the offseason, Tejada resides in the Dominican Republic with his wife, Alessandra, his daughter, Alexa, and his son, Miguel Jr.

On July 12, 2004, Tejada won the Century 21 Home Run Derby in Houston. Tejada hit a record 27 home runs in the contest, with a record 15 homers in the second round. He defeated Houston Astros outfielder Lance Berkman 5-4 in the final round of the contest. Both records were broken the following year in Detroit by Bobby Abreu.

Tejada led the league with 150 RBI's in 2004.

While Tejada did not participate in the Home Run Derby in 2005, he was an All-Star and starter for the AL. In his first All-Star start, Tejada hit a solo home run against John Smoltz of the Atlanta Braves, had a sacrifice RBI and was part of an all-Oriole double play with teammate Brian Roberts. His efforts earned him the All-Star MVP, winning a Chevrolet Corvette.

On December 8, 2005, it was widely reported by the Associated Press that Tejada asked the Orioles for a trade, citing unhappiness with the team's direction. Tejada challenged those statements in an interview with Comcast Sportsnet's Kelli 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, sparking immediate rumors of a trade to the Boston Red Sox for pitcher Matt Clement and outfielder Manny Ramirez. 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.

Rumors went around in early 2006 that Tejada might be traded to the Red Sox or Cubs. But 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 teammate Melvin Mora. [1]

Steroids

On September 22, 2005, ESPN reported that Rafael 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 [2], saying that the only thing he gave Palmeiro was vitamin B-12, a completely legal substance under current MLB policy.

On September 24, 2005, The Baltimore Sun reported 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."[3]

Tejada was also one of the players named in baseball's Mitchell Report. The report rehashed the B-12 controversy surrounding Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro. The report also claimed that Tejada acquired steroids (either testosterone or Deca-Durabolin) and HGH from his Oakland teammate Adam Piatt, who was supplied by former Mets clubhouse attendant Kirk Radomski. Piatt said that he never knew whether or not Tejada actually took the drugs that Piatt gave him. Radomski was able to corroborate Piatt's story.

Tejada, like most players, declined to speak with investigators for the Mitchell Report.

Nicknames

  • Miggy
  • The Bus (called so because of the regularity with which he drives runners in)
  • Tejada the Fertada

Scouting Report

Suffered through a down year in 2007 thanks in part to a broken wrist, but also showed declining power before the injury... Has improved his patience, but could still stand to walk more often... A good contact hitter who can be counted on to hit at least .300 every year... Above-average bat control, uses the whole field... Strike zone judgment improved markedly in 2007... Power dropped significantly this year, even before being hit with a pitch on June 21... Used to have average speed, but no longer... Has lost a step in the field.

Statistics

Batting Stats

Year Team G AB R H HR RBI AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B BB SO HBP SH SB IBB GDP
1997 OAK A 26 99 10 20 2 10 .202 .240 .333 3 2 2 22 3 0 2 0 3
1998 OAK A 105 365 53 85 11 45 .233 .298 .384 20 1 28 86 7 4 5 0 8
1999 OAK A 159 593 93 149 21 84 .251 .325 .427 33 4 57 94 10 9 8 3 11
2000 OAK A 160 607 105 167 30 115 .275 .349 .479 32 1 66 102 4 2 6 6 15
2001 OAK A 162 622 107 166 31 113 .267 .326 .476 31 3 43 89 13 1 11 5 14
2002 OAK A 162 662 108 204 34 131 .308 .354 .508 30 0 38 84 11 0 7 3 21
2003 OAK A 162 636 98 177 27 106 .278 .336 .472 42 0 53 65 6 0 10 7 12
2004 BAL A 162 653 107 203 34 150 .311 .360 .534 40 2 48 73 10 0 4 6 24
2005 BAL A 162 654 89 199 26 98 .304 .349 .515 50 5 40 83 7 0 5 9 26
2006 BAL A 162 648 99 214 24 100 .330 .379 .498 37 0 46 79 9 0 6 10 28
2007 BAL A 133 514 72 152 18 81 .296 .357 .442 19 1 41 55 10 0 2 9 22
Total 1555 6053 941 1736 258 1033 .287 .344 .477 337 19 462 832 90 16 66 58 184

Fielding Stats

Year Team POS G GS INN PO A ERR DP TP PB SB CS PkO AVG
1997 OAK A SS 26 25 227.2 54 68 4 18 0 0 0 0 0 .968
1998 OAK A SS 104 104 915 173 327 26 75 0 0 0 0 0 .951
1999 OAK A SS 159 156 1377.1 292 471 21 110 0 0 0 0 0 .973
2000 OAK A SS 160 159 1400.1 233 501 21 115 0 0 0 0 0 .972
2001 OAK A SS 162 160 1431.1 257 472 20 93 0 0 0 0 0 .973
2002 OAK A SS 162 161 1424 230 504 19 106 0 0 0 0 0 .975
2003 OAK A SS 162 162 1417.2 240 490 21 95 0 0 0 0 0 .972
2004 BAL A SS 162 162 1421.2 264 526 24 118 0 0 0 0 0 .971
2005 BAL A DH 2 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
2005 BAL A SS 160 160 1394.2 252 479 22 105 0 0 0 0 0 .971
2006 BAL A SS 150 150 1293.2 237 418 19 108 0 0 0 0 0 .972
2006 BAL A DH 12 12 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
2007 BAL A DH 8 8 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
2007 BAL A SS 124 122 1068.2 149 358 15 77 0 0 0 0 0 .971
Total DH 22 22 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 .000
Total SS 1531 1521 13372 2381 4614 212 1021 0 0 0 0 0 .971

Transactions

  • Signed as a non-drafted free agent by Oakland Athletics (July 17, 1993).
  • Granted free agency (October 27, 2003).
  • Signed by Baltimore Orioles (December 18, 2003).

Trivia

See also

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