Simply Baseball Notebook: Perspectives

No Way Jose!


No Way JOSE!


When Jose Canseco retired, we ran a tribute to his memorable career.  Now, nearly a year later, we are left shaking our heads at the freak show his life has become.

There was a time not too long ago, about fifteen years or so, that Jose Canseco was the best player in baseball.  He could hit for average and power, steal bases, gun down runners, and even roam the outfield adequately.

Somewhere along the line, however, the slugger became obsessed with looking at himself in the mirror.  He decided that his physique should resemble that of a WWF wrestler, and used every means possible to bulk up. Soon the agile outfielder became a lumbering designated hitter.

After over a decade spent bouncing around the American League, swatting home runs and racking up days on the disabled list, Canseco retired in May of 2002.  He claimed that he had been "blackballed" from the majors, a ridiculous statement considering he had been hitting below .200 at AAA Charolette.

Canseco then out did even himself, stating that over 50% of major leaguers are using steroids  (himself included), and that a tell-all book in which he would name names was on it's way.  To this point, thankfully, nothing has come of it.

Next came legal problems.  On probation from a 2001 bar room brawl, Canseco was cited for several violations of that probation earlier this year.  Arrested in February, the six time All Star was thrown into the clink for 30 days, pending a hearing.  Following his release, Canseco was sentenced to two years of house arrest.  The judge warned that any further violations would result in a 15 year prison sentence.

Since Jose is stuck at home, he figured he'd invite some guests over to join in on the fun.  For a minimum bid of $2,500 you can spend a day with the former MVP at his crib.  An auction was opened in April at his web site, josecanseco.com -- you can't make this stuff up.

Before his legal troubles began, Canseco was rumored to be considering a second career as an action movie hero.  To do this, he reportedly felt a nose job would be necessary.  It's becoming so ridiculous, that you  get the feeling that an "Anna Nicole" style reality show isn't that far off.

Despite all of the injuries and distractions, Canseco managed to hit 462 home runs in his 17 year career.   However, 600 would have been very reachable had he taken better care of his body.  In the end, Canseco not only cheated himself, but also us -- the fans.  We saw what could have been one of the greatest all around players in baseball history, transform himself into a WWF, reality TV style freak show.

Jose Canseco: once truly amazing, now mearly pathetic.

-David Zingler

Canseco's page @ Baseball-Almanac.com

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