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Tuesday, August 28, 2001
Updated: August 31, 1:12 PM ET
How old is Almonte?

Page 2 staff

He became an overnight media sensation, unleashing a dazzling array of strikeouts, no-hitters and perfect games that took the baseball world by storm. Bronx left-hander Danny Almonte was the primary reason why the 2001 Little League World Series posted better TV ratings than the 2001 NBA All-Star Game or Game 7 of the 2001 Stanley Cup finals.

Danny Almonte
Danny Almonte allowed only one run the entire season.
But as Almonte led the Bronx to the U.S. championship game and its eventual third-place finish in the LLWS, the cynics whispered that the kid was a little too good. Opponents cried foul, and one team from Staten Island reportedly went as far as to spend $10,000 on a private investigator to probe the records of Almonte and his teammates.

Then, just one day after the LLWS concluded in Williamsport, Pa., a reporter from Sports Illustrated showed Little League officials a document that indicated the young lefty was born April 7, 1987, in Moca, Dominican Republic -- making him 14 years old and ineligible for the tournament. If Almonte is found to have been born before Aug. 1, 1988, the Bronx squad could be forced to forfeit games and/or be stripped of its third-place finish.

With all these rumors and theories swirling about Almonte's true age, Page 2 felt it was our duty to come forward with all of the potential theories we've heard over the past few weeks. Check out all of them, and then vote in the poll at left to let us know exactly how old you think Almonte really is.


He's 10

The George Steinbrenner Theory
The Boss, as impatient a man as the great game of baseball has ever known, doesn't want to wait any longer than absolutely necessary to sign this fantastic prospect, so he paid the best birth certificate forger in the business to create one that made Almonte look older than actually is. Plus, Almonte explained to his coach that he went to see "Lara Kroft: Tomb Raider" 14 times "for the great action, not because she's a girl."

He's 12

The What You See Is What You Get Theory
"It's a lie. People are jealous of what my son has done," Almonte's mother, Sonia Rojas, told the New York Daily News. "If he hadn't been so successful, we wouldn't even be talking about this." And she should know: She was there.

He's 17

The Jeffrey Maier Theory
Every time the Bronx team traveled past Yankee Stadium, Almonte thrilled teammates with his stories about attending the 1996 American League Championship Series with fellow 12-year-old classmate Jeffrey Maier. Almonte boasted that he would have caught Derek Jeter's controversial home-run ball in Game 2 if Maier had not pushed him out of the way.

He's 21

The El Duque Theory
Almonte's "authentic" birth certificate was recently uncovered in the back of City Hall in the Bronx, right behind the birth certificate of the Yankees' Cuban-born right-hander Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. The records showed Almonte's age to be seven years older than the SI report claims, and also revealed that Hernandez is actually 49 years old.

He's 25

The Chris Drury Theory
While watching Game 6 of the Avalanche-Devils Stanley Cup finals series at a teammate's house in June, Almonte let it slip that he had "taken Chris Drury deep" in a 1989 East Regional game when Drury was a star pitcher for eventual LLWS champ Trumbull, Conn.

He's 35

The "Stayin' Alive" Theory
Almonte's own teammates believed something was fishy when the lefty pitcher was singing along to the Bee Gees' tune of "Stayin' Alive" between innings in an East Regional playoff game at Bristol, Conn. Suspicions were raised further when Almonte listed "All in the Family" as his favorite TV program in a bio for the LLWS.

He's 80

The Babe Ruth Theory
A New York reporter first became suspicious when Almonte bemoaned the Win-At-Any-Cost Philosophy so prevalent among media, fans, coaches and even parents, and wondered why people couldn't just play for the love of the game, "like me and Jorge Herman did when we first fell for baseball."