Documents Back Beltre’s Claim


Documents obtained from Adrian Beltre’s Dodger personnel file indicate that the club had a birth certificate showing the young third baseman’s correct age, and that Beltre’s correct date of birth has been listed on forms in the ballclub’s possession for several years, baseball sources said Tuesday.

The commissioner’s office--investigating Beltre’s alleged signing before he had reached baseball’s minimum age of 16--has received copies of the personnel file from Beltre’s agent, Scott Boras, who obtained it from the Dodgers. Team sources said the Dodgers are not challenging the authenticity of the documents.

The initial contract Beltre signed and copies of his birth certificate were among many documents in the file.


The copy of the birth certificate Beltre requested from Dominican Republic officials in 1994, in order to sign with the Dodgers, lists his birth date as April 7, 1979. That would have made Beltre 15 and ineligible to join a major league organization when the Dodgers signed him as a free agent July 7, 1994.

The file also contains a birth certificate that had “1979” whited out and replaced by “1978,” Boras said. A copy of the certificate with the 1978 birth date was attached to the contract Beltre signed in 1994, which has been on file in the Dodger Stadium offices, sources said.

The file contains five work visas the Dodgers issued Beltre between 1996 and ’99 that list his correct birth date. Also included are Beltre’s passport, Florida identification card and international driver’s license--all listing his birth date April, 7 1979.

One Dodger source said some of the documents have been in Los Angeles and others at offices at Campo Las Palmas, their academy in the Dominican Republic, though which documents were where is unclear.

Meanwhile, the investigation, now in its third week, has shifted to the Dominican Republic.

Representatives from the commissioner’s office are scheduled to interview Beltre and his family Thursday. Members of Boras’ staff will be present.


Boras wants the commissioner’s office to grant Beltre free agency because of the Dodgers’ alleged violation. Sandy Alderson, executive vice president for baseball operations, expects Commissioner Bud Selig to rule on Beltre’s status in December.

Dodger General Manager Kevin Malone declined comment on the documents. Questions were referred to Sam Fernandez, team counsel, who has advised Malone and Dodger Chairman Robert Daly throughout the process.

“The matter is under investigation by the commissioner’s office,” Fernandez said. “We are cooperating fully with the commissioner’s investigation, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this matter at this time.”

Boras was more forthcoming.

“The facts speak for themselves,” Boras said. “Adrian gave the club accurate documentation that reflects he was 15 when they signed him. The copy of the birth certificate that Adrian requested in 1994, that they still have in his personnel file, proves that he was 15 when they signed him.”

Boras first requested a copy of Beltre’s personnel file Oct. 28 during a meeting with Daly and Malone to discuss the situation. The Dodgers had not produced the file after Boras, considering legal action if the Dodgers did not respond, sent two letters to the club formally seeking the information. Boras called Daly last week.

Last Wednesday, one of Boras’ associates went to Dodger Stadium and copied the documents.

On Nov. 16, Dodger Senior Vice President Tom Lasorda was quoted as saying, “If this [the signing] was done illegally, they [Beltre’s family] gave the birth certificate to us, which simply means that they knew that he wasn’t the right age.”


Boras, who objected to Lasorda’s comments at the time, said the information in Beltre’s file vindicates his client.

“This demonstrates that in no way was Adrian part of this [alleged rules violation],” Boras said. “The Dodgers had the correct documentation, which Adrian’s family requested in 1994, and it was altered to make it appear as if he was born in 1978.

“Both birth certificates are in his file--the file they’ve had. Tommy’s comments about Adrian having any part in this are misleading and inappropriate.”

Beltre, 20, established himself as one of the major league’s rising young stars in his first full season. He batted .275 with 15 home runs, 27 doubles, 67 runs batted in and 18 stolen bases.

He earned $220,000 last season, and the Dodgers planned to increase his salary to about $300,000 next season. If Beltre is granted free agency, he might move among the highest-paid players at his position in the game.



The Agent

“The facts speak for themselves. Adrian gave the club accurate documentation that reflects he was 15 when they signed him.”




“We are cooperating fully with the commissioner’s investigation, and it would not be appropriate for me to comment on this matter at this time.”


Team Counsel


Umpires replace Richie Phillips and his union.

Page 7