Today the Houston Astros got a little bit of a surprise. It turns out that that Miguel Tejada is actually not 31, but instead 33. That's never something you want to hear when you just traded for a guy in the offseason.
Tejada said he wanted to get a burden off his chest, so he told them his true age. Strangely, he's OK with that steroids burden still on his chest.
But the truth is that Tejada is far from the first person to do this, and he certainly won't be the last. Here's a look back at some of the other athletes that have fudged their ages.
- Danny Almonte (born April 7, 1987) played in the Little League World Series for his Bronx team in 2001, despite being over the cutoff age for the league. His parents had provided a doctored birth certificate misrepresenting his birth year as 1989. A Sports Illustrated writer discovered the discrepancy when Almonte's Dominican elementary school records gave his correct birth year.
- Orlando Hernández, born on October 11, 1965 or 1969, depending on the source, claimed to have been born in 1969 when he defected from Cuba in 1997 to pitch in Major League Baseball. The Smoking Gun published what was purported to be his divorce decree from Cuba, which gave his year of birth as 1965. 4 years is quite a big difference.
- Rafael Furcal (born August 24, 1977) was first believed to have been born in 1980. Thus, during his major league rookie season, his 40 stolen bases were considered the most ever by a teenage player, breaking the record set in 1906 by Ty Cobb. When it was discovered that Furcal had been a 21-year-old rookie, the 84-year-old record reverted to Cobb.
- Here's a list of Latin American players who have fudged their ages, most by at least one or two years: Manny Aybar, Bartolo Colón, Deivi Cruz, Octavio Dotel, Juan Guzman, David Ortiz, Ramon Ortiz, Luis Polonia, Alfonso Soriano, Luis Vizcaino, and Enrique Wilson. In a milder case, Odális Pérez was discovered to be six days older than originally reported. A few players' ages have even dropped in age, including Adrián Beltré, Edgar Rentería, Esteban Yan and Wilson Betemit; in these cases the players had lied about being older so that they could sign contracts before turning 16.
- Kirby Puckett was reported throughout his playing career to have been born on March 14, 1961. When he died in 2006, it was confirmed that he had actually been born on the same day in 1960.
As for us bloggers, pretending to be young definitely helps. Turns out I'm actually 63.