Age ain't nothing but a number, unless you're Miguel Tejada.
The Houston Astros shortstop told the Oakland Athletics when he was signed out of the Dominican Republic in 1993 that he was 17. But he was actually 19, meaning he is now 33, two years older than his listed age in the Astros' media guide and other baseball records.
The shortstop made his admission after being approached Tuesday by ESPN.
"E:60" correspondent Tom Farrey presented Tejada with a copy of a birth certificate, filed by his father in his hometown of Bani, that showed he was born on May 25, 1974. The document was acquired by a Dominican law firm hired by ESPN after clerks at the town hall in Bani declared -- improperly -- that Tejada's records were confidential.
When asked if the birth certificate "E:60" acquired was the real one, the former American League MVP said "probably" and walked out of the interview. He said he considered the information "personal."
Earlier in the interview, before being presented with the birth certificate, Tejada was asked how old he was. His answer was "32" -- which is neither his real age nor his listed age.
"E:60" plans to air its report on Tejada as part of its April 22 show (7 p.m. ET, ESPN).
"I was a poor kid," Tejada told reporters before the Astros finished a
three-game series against the Phillies on Thursday. "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."
The Astros' media guide lists Tejada's birthday as May 25, 1976. However, Astros GM Ed Wade and Tejada both said the shortstop's green card, driver's license and other legal papers in the United States reflect his actual birthday as May 25, 1974.
"It was brought to our attention that the date we carry for
Tejada, the year of birth, is incorrect," The Associated Press quoted Wade as saying. "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."
Tejada was signed out of the Dominican Republic by Juan Marichal, but he said that the Hall of Famer had nothing to do with the age change.
"The thing is I didn't want Houston to find out from somebody else," Tejada told the Houston Chronicle. "I wanted to find out just from my face. I'm a man and I'm responsible for everything. That's why I prefer to come to them and say, 'You know what? That's the way it is and we're moving forward.'
"I was feeling like I had something to say in the last three days. That's why I waited for today to do it," he said.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.