Miguel Tejada: 1976—: Baseball Player
Won League's Highest Honor
Although the A's made it to the division playoffs in 2000 and 2001, the team was stopped both times by the New York Yankees. Many observers credited Tejada's work with bringing the team along as far as the playoffs. In recognition to his outstanding play, Tejada was named to the 2002 All-Star game. The athlete immediately put the honor into perspective; as he told USA Today about the experience, "I've been in the majors for a few years now and making [the All-Star team] makes me want to be a better player. But I want to be on the field for the playoffs and World Series. That's what would make me happy." Tejada's wish came partly true at the end of the 2002 season, when the A's again made the playoffs after winning 103 games during the regular season. In its third consecutive trip to the playoffs the team was again defeated, this time by the Minnesota Twins.
At the end of the 2002 season, Tejada received the American League's Most Valuable Player Award. In characteristically modest fashion, the player told USA Today after learning about the award, "I was surprised. I was thinking the whole way that [Texas Rangers short stop Alex Rodriguez] was going to win the MVP." Tejada, who returned to the Dominican Republic in the off-season, was in his hometown of Bani when he heard the news. Summoned to meet with the Dominican president to observe the honor, the occasion turned into a national celebration in the country. A symbol of national pride as well as an example of individual perseverance against the odds, Tejada's triumph showed how far the athlete had come in reaching his goals. As Tejada had previously told the Sporting News, "I've been working all my life for this. I didn't work just to be in the majors. I want to be somebody.
The reason I play hard every day, the reason I work hard every day, is that I don't want to be just one more baseball player in the major leagues. I want to be one more superstar. I want to be somebody who people will remember when I get out of this game."
Bretón, Marcos and José Luis Villegas, Away Games: The Life and Times of a Latin Ball Player, New York, Simon and Schuster, 1999.
Sporting News, September 11, 2000, p. 10; September 23, 2002, p. 64.
USA Today, July 12, 2002; November 13, 2002.
"Miguel Tejada," Baseball Reference, 2002, http://www.baseball-reference.com/t/tegadmi01.shtml (accessed March 31, 2003).
"Miguel Tejada," Oakland Athletics, 2002, http://oakland.athletics.mlb.vom/NASApp/mlb/oak/team/oak_player_bio.jsp?club_context=oak&playerid=123173 (March 31, 2003).
Brief BiographiesBiographies: Nate Smith Biography - Fought His Way into the Union to Theodosius II BiographyMiguel Tejada: 1976—: Baseball Player Biography - Grew Up In Poverty, Signed To The Oakland A's, Won League's Highest Honor