Tejada plays in 1,000th in row


ATLANTA -- On June 2, 2000, Athletics shortstop Miguel Tejada hit a three-run homer off San Francisco Giants pitcher Russ Ortiz with Oakland catcher Ramon Hernandez watching from the dugout.

For Tejada, that was Game 1 of the longest active consecutive-games streak in baseball and the seventh longest of all time. With Ortiz and Hernandez making up the Orioles' battery last night against the Atlanta Braves, Tejada played in his 1,000th straight game. The closest current active streak is 361 by Texas Rangers first baseman and former Mount St. Joseph star Mark Teixeira.

"I know that it's not easy to play 1,000 games," Tejada said yesterday, smiling and leaning back on his chair in front of his locker before the game. "I know how Cal Ripken is feeling now."

Ripken, one of Tejada's idols, played in a record 2,632 consecutive games for the Orioles. Three of the players with longer streaks than Tejada - Lou Gehrig, Billy Williams and Joe Sewell - are Hall of Famers, and Ripken is expected to be enshrined in Cooperstown, N.Y., next year.

Yesterday he joined those congratulating Tejada.

"I've always admired the enthusiasm that Miguel takes to the field and I've always enjoyed competing against him," Ripken said. "I want to congratulate him on his 1,000th consecutive game and I hope he keeps on going."

Sewell, the player in front of Tejada on the all-time list, played in 1,103 straight games. When Tejada hyper-extended his knee in late April and experienced some hamstring soreness, he said that he thought that his streak was over. But when his hamstring started to feel better, he wanted to keep playing.

Tejada has had a tumultuous couple of weeks, with trade rumors and questions about his mind-set hovering over the All-Star shortstop. Before yesterday, he had not spoken to the media for several days. He declined to talk about other issues yesterday, but did address the streak.

"I feel fine," Tejada said. "I am happy. This streak for me is not important. I think that's why I keep playing the game. I don't worry about 1,000 games, 2,000 games. I just worry about one game at a time. I just play every day because I like to play baseball."

Sam Perlozzo said that not once since he has been the Orioles manager has he considered sitting the 30-year-old.

"When I come to the ballpark, it's like a given," Perlozzo said. "It's the one given that you have. His name is in the lineup, and you don't even think about it."

Tejada's teammates also marveled at the feat.

"It's amazing, it really is," second baseman Brian Roberts said. "Most guys come in and look at the lineup just to see if they are going to play. He hasn't had to check it in seven years. It's a testament to various things, obviously good fortune, but also you need to be a very, very good player where the manager just doesn't want to take you out."

Tejada and anybody else?

Perlozzo left a message yesterday for Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, also the manager of the American League All-Star team, looking to promote a couple of Orioles for the team. The All-Star team will be announced today, and Tejada could be the Orioles' only representative.

Hernandez and closer Chris Ray are also likely to get some consideration. Entering yesterday, Hernandez led AL catchers in home runs (15) and RBIs (59) and he has thrown out the most runners (22).

"Do I want to go? Yeah, but if I don't, I'll have three days off to be with my son and my girl who was just born," Hernandez said.

Said Ray, fifth in the AL with 20 saves: "It would be an honor, but I know the All-Star Game is for stars, guys like Mariano Rivera and B.J. Ryan."

Around the horn

Javy Lopez (stiff neck) wasn't available to pinch hit last night. ... Kris Benson hosted a barbecue for his teammates at his Atlanta home yesterday. ... Leo Mazzone caught up with Atlanta manager Bobby Cox and Braves pitcher John Smoltz before the game. Perlozzo said the club's top pitching prospect, Hayden Penn, who is recovering from appendicitis, will make a start at Triple-A Ottawa around July 15, rather than pitch at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.


Sun reporter Roch Kubatko contributed to this article.

Copyright © 2021, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad