Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II Biography » Miguel Tejada: 1976—: Baseball Player Biography - Grew Up In Poverty, Signed To The Oakland A's, Won League's Highest Honor

Miguel Tejada: 1976—: Baseball Player - Signed To The Oakland A's

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Tejada entered the A's' training facility as a seventeen-year-old with obvious athletic talent but few of the other skills that would allow him to play in the major leagues. Although Tejada was a hard worker on the field, he sometimes seemed distracted during his coaches' after-practice discussions. Coming from such a poor background, Tejada also had to learn how to deal with agents, reporters, and fans in a manner that would reflect well on himself and his team. A much bigger challenge was Tejada's inability to speak English; a challenge he was determined to overcome in order to earn the respect of the American players he would soon join.

It was on the field that Tejada dispelled any doubts about his ability as a potential major-leaguer. After playing in a summer league in the Dominican Republic, Tejada was brought by the A's to their Medford, Oregon, minor-league affiliate for the 1995 season. Although some Latin American players were not able to make the adjustment to life in the United States, Tejada was determined to succeed. With an outgoing personality, he often served as a mediator between his fellow Dominican players and the team's management. Tejada also proved popular with his American-born colleagues, who called him "Miggy." Tejada was brought up to the Modesto A's for the 1996 season and started the 1997 season with the Huntsville Stars. Further refining his skills with each new team, Tejada became known as a extremely quick short stop whose size belied his hitting power. On August 27, 1997, at the age of 21, Tejada made his first major-league appearance with the Oakland A's.

Tejada finished the 1997 season in Oakland and compiled a .202 batting average in twenty-six games. In March of 1998, however, an injury to his left hand put his standing on the A's' roster in doubt. Tejada prolonged the injury by returning to practice before he had fully healed, and missed the first part of the next season. Once he had recovered, the A's showed faith in Tejada's future by naming him the starting player as short stop beginning on May 29, 1998. Over the next three seasons Tejada continually improved his performance, with his batting average going from .233 in the 1998 season to .275 in 2000. Eager to rebuild the team around Tejada's talent, the A's signed him to a four-year contract worth $11.3 million in April of 2000. A's manager Art Howe told the Sporting News in September of 2000, "He's one of the main ingredients in our lineup. He's not afraid to be up there with the game on the line and the so-called heat turned on. He likes to be in that situation.… I don't like to call anybody irreplaceable, but he's as close as we come."


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