Oakland Athletics history: The forgotten greatness of Miguel Tejada

OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 4: Miguel Tejada #4 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout during the game against the Anaheim Angels at the Network Associates Coliseum on April 4, 2003 in Oakland, California. The A's defeated the Angels 7-3. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
OAKLAND, CA - APRIL 4: Miguel Tejada #4 of the Oakland Athletics is congratulated by his teammates in the dugout during the game against the Anaheim Angels at the Network Associates Coliseum on April 4, 2003 in Oakland, California. The A's defeated the Angels 7-3. (Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images) /
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Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in baseball from 2000 through 2009, but his accomplishments are forgotten these days.

At the beginning of the 2000s, there was plenty of debate over who was the best shortstop in baseball. The discussion inevitably was between Derek Jeter, Alex Rodriguez, and Nomar Garciaparra. While that conversation would ultimately end up decidedly in Jeter’s favor, another player forced his way into consideration – the Oakland Athletics’ Miguel Tejada.

During the first decade of the century, Tejada was one of the best players in the game, let alone at short. He produced a .297/.347/.481 batting line, hitting 365 doubles and 251 homers. His 1860 hits were the third most of the decade, trailing only Jeter and Ichiro Suzuki, while his home run total led all MLB shortstops. One of the game’s Iron Men, Tejada did not miss a game in over seven years, led the league with 150 RBI in 2004, and twice led the league in doubles.

That production certainly led to a great deal of recognition at the time. Tejada was a six time All Star and won the game’s MVP award in 2005. He was the AL MVP in 2002, and won two Silver Slugger awards.

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These days, those accomplishments are largely forgotten due to his actions. It began when Rafael Palmeiro tested positive for PEDs in 2005, and blamed that positive result on what he thought was a Vitamin B-12 injection that he received from Tejada. At the time, those allegations were laughed off, as Palmeiro had been a laughing stock following his performance in front of Congress.

But the whispers continued. Eventually, in 2009, it came out that Tejada had discussed steroids with another former teammate, Adam Piatt. Another part of the Congressional PED circus, Tejada pled guilty to lying to Congress later that year.

That was not the end of Tejada’s troubles with PEDs. He tested positive for amphetamines twice in 2013, landing a 105 game suspension. The suspension ultimately ended his playing career, as the leadership he had displayed and his efforts to reinvent himself as a stellar teammate were thrown out the window. Despite intriguing numbers, Tejada only received five votes for the Hall of Fame in 2019, his PED issues casting a large shadow on his production.

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There was a time when Oakland Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada was one of the best players in the game. These days, his production is largely forgotten, and it is entirely due to his actions.

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