Jose Canseco

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José Canseco Capas Jr.

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Biographical Information[edit]

"I've never seen anybody quite like him. He leaves you in awe." - Walt Weiss


José Canseco was a huge star during his best years, an often-injured slugger in the middle of his career, and the prime symbol of the steroid era later on when he admitted using steroids. A six-time All-Star, he won the 1986 American League Rookie of the Year Award and was the 1988 American League MVP. He played for the Oakland Athletics with his fellow bash brother teammate Mark McGwire and under manager Tony LaRussa for the first half of his career, and then became a journeyman slugger in the second half of his career.

He became the first member of the 40-40 club in 1988. That year, he was the first player since Mike Schmidt in 1981 to bat .300 or better and lead the league in home runs and RBI. He also tied Cecil Fielder for the major lead in home runs with 44 in 1991. In 1996, he reached 1,000 career RBI in fewer games (1,298) than anyone since Ted Williams in 1949. In 1,887 games, Canseco hit 462 home runs, good for 37th all-time, and is one of only 14 players in history with 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases. In spite of all the negative publicity about him, particularly following publication of his 2005 memoir Juiced, six sportswriters voted for him in the 2007 Hall of Fame voting. He was dropped from the ballot for future years.

After his playing career, he dabbled in acting and was a cast member of the reality show The Surreal Life. He was also a contestant in an edition of the show Celebrity Apprentice, hosted by billionaire (and future President) Donald Trump. Prior to that, he had appeared in The Simpsons episode "Homer at the Bat". He also authored the 2005 book Juiced in which he admits using steroids and outs teammates that used them with him. While the book was widely derided as full of unfounded rumors at the time, several of the players he fingered where later found to have indeed been PED users.

Canseco also dabbled in martial arts and other combat sports in his retirement. In 2010, he lost a boxing match staged before a minor league game, then in August announced a return to the game as a player-coach with the Laredo Broncos of the independent United Baseball League. He stated he wanted to pitch as well as be a DH with the team. In 2011, he was named manager of the Yuma Scorpions in the North American League.

His twin brother, Ozzie, played briefly in the majors. In 2011, the brothers were both player coaches for the Yuma Scorpions. Even in that relatively low-key occupation, he managed to make national news for his role in a brawl on August 9th. When his third baseman, former major league teammate Tony Phillips, got into a fight with Chico Outlaws manager Mike Marshall, he rushed from the dugout to intervene as the fight degenerated into a bench-clearing brawl. After order was restored, he pulled his team from the field, forfeiting the game, claiming he feared for his players' safety given the high level of tension. Phillips and Marshall were handed three-game suspensions, while Canseco faced a fine for causing the forfeit.

José signed with the Quintana Roo Tigers in the Mexican League in February 2012, hoping to make it back to the bigs. He went 2 for 5 in his first preseason game with the Tigers, then, in a move typical of his personality, refused to submit to a doping test and was suspended by the Liga. He explained that he had been undergoing testosterone treatment for the past five or six years, to counteract a natural deficiency, and that he decided to abstain from the test because he had no guarantees that his medical condition would be taken into account. He added, undeterred, that he still planned to play for a team that season, and that he still had the power to hit "30 to 40 homers" at the major league level if given a chance. However, he had to settle with signing a contract with the Worcester Tornadoes of the Can-Am Association instead.

The next time he made the news was when he filed for personal bankruptcy in the state of Nevada on July 31, 2012. Documents filed on his behalf with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court listed $21,000 in assets and $1.7 million in liabilities, including more than $500,000 owed to the Internal Revenue Service. On May 22, 2013, it was revealed that a woman filed sexual assault charges against him in Las Vegas, to which he replied in a Twitter message that the accusations were entirely made up. The message enraged many observers, as he revealed his accuser's name and workplace in it. He was scheduled to leave Las Vegas to join the Fort Worth Cats in an attempt to return to the playing field. On June 7th, Las Vegas police announced that they had investigated the charges and cleared Canseco; for his part, Canseco said he would sue his alleged victim for making outright and damaging lies. Another appearance on the police blotter took place on October 28, 2014. This time, Canseco accidentally shot himself in the left hand while cleaning his gun in the kitchen of his Las Vegas home, badly damaging a finger.

In 2017, he joined the Oakland A's broadcast team as a pre-game and post-game analyst, a timid return to MLB over 15 years after playing his last game. At the end of the year, he issued a wave of stupid comments on the recent resignations linked to allegations of sexual harassment and other forms of inappropriate conduct directed at women, a development that was likely to cost him any chance of being re-hired, as NBC Sports California and the A's both immediately distanced themselves from him. In July 2018, he announced he signed a contract with World Class Revolution Pro Wrestling, a fledgling wrestling federation, although it was not clear in what capacity he was being hired. In December, he managed to make the news again when he volunteered himself as a candidate to become President Trump's chief of staff, following the resignation of General John Kelly and the difficulty in finding anyone remotely qualified willing to take on the thankless job.

Notable Achievements[edit]

1987 1988 1989
George Bell Jose Canseco Robin Yount
AL Rookie of the Year
1985 1986 1987
Ozzie Guillen Jose Canseco Mark McGwire

Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record[edit]

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2011 Yuma Scorpions North American League 35-53 8th Independent Leagues

Further Reading[edit]

  • Jose Canseco: Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits and How Baseball Got Big, William Morrow, Harper Collins Publishers, New York, NY, 2005. ISBN 978-0060746414
  • Jose Canseco: Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball, Gallery Books, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY, 2009. ISBN 1416593519`
  • Jorge L. Ortiz: "Jose Canseco: Live from Las Vegas, steroid-stained slugger revives MLB dream", USA Today Sports, May 15, 2017. [1]
  • Kit Stier: "Jose Canseco's 40-40 Vision", in Zander Hollander, ed.: The Complete Handbook of Baseball: 19th Edition 1989, Signet Books, New American Library, New York, NY, 1989, pp. 16-23. ISBN 0-451-15850-4
  • Dale Tafoya: Bash Brothers: A Legacy Subpoenaed, Potomac Books, Inc., Dulles, VA, 2008. ISBN 978-1597971782

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