Miguel Tejada, of the Class A Modesto Athletics, stretches before a game, his teammates in the background. An amazing defensive shortstop, Tejada also shows great power at the plate. It is early in the 1996 season and he is showing the confidence of a player on the way up.
Among his Latin teammates, Tejada clearly is the leader. A powerful player both with the glove and the bat, he commands a sort of reverence among his Dominican countrymen - who surround him in the cramped Modesto Athletics clubhouse.
Tejada, like other Latinos, seems to shrink when he is not on the diamond. Speaking little English, he is just another funny sounding Latino to Americans. Here, moments after holding court with other Latinos, he is barely noticed by two of his American teammates.
Thousands of miles from home, living in a farmhouse surrounded by a farm field outside Modesto, Miguel Tejada lives with three other Latinos in the house of a serious Nodesto Athletics fan. To save money, the team places its players with sponsorship families. Here Tejada tries to figure out his hosts' washing machine.
After being named to the California League All-Star team, Miguel Tejada was rolling towards a phenomenal season, when in a collision with an opponent, he broke his left thumb. Sidelined for a month, he spent much of that time watching television from his bed and wondering if he would play again that season.
With his season in doubt, Miguel Tejada visits the doctor who would tell him how badly his broken left thumb was injured. Too nervous to sit and worried that his dreams of a major league career would be temporarily derailed, Tejada peered at the waiting room television as he waited.
The prognosis was good and Miguel Tejada would be able to play the remaking two weeks of the 1996 season. Oakland Athletics trainer Rich Ramirez examines Miguel's thumb after the cast was removed.
During his recuperation, Miguel Tejada realizes once again that without baseball, America sees him as only a funny-talking kid who can't tie a tie or order from a restaurant menu without pointing at what he wants.