Tejada, who was born in Bani, Dominican Republic, was originally signed by Oakland Athletics scout and Hall of Fame pitcher Juan Marichal as a non-drafted free agent on July 17, 1993, at the age of 17, but did not begin play until the following season. As it turns out, Tejada was really 19. Tejada eventually made his debut with the A's on Aug. 27, 1997.
Tejada's reason for the discrepancy was rather simple.
"I was a poor kid," Tejada said. "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."
Please forgive me. I'm just a simple caveman. Your modern ways frighten and confuse me. But where I come from, anyone who induces me to sign a six-year $72M contract based on a lie regarding the most critical component to valuing a player's performance going forward (i.e. age) gets their butt sued for fraud.
Of course, given that the person who gave him that contract is a big fancy lawyer who should know better, I suppose his failure to conduct due diligence evens things out.