Canseco, Jose (1964—)

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Canseco, Jose (1964—)

Baseball's Rookie of the Year in 1986, slugging outfielder Jose Canseco helped the Oakland Athletics to World Series appearances from 1988 to 1990, while becoming the first ballplayer ever to hit over 40 homers and steal 40 bases in a season (1988). Auspicious beginnings, teen-idol looks, and Canseco was suddenly the sport's top celebrity. As big money, 1-900 hotlines, and dates with Madonna ensued, Canseco's on-field and off-field behavior became erratic. Headlines detailed a weapons arrest, reckless driving, and an acrimonious public divorce. Traded away from Oakland in 1992, he blew out his arm in a vanity pitching appearance and topped blooper reels when a fly ball bounced off his head for a home run. Having dropped out of both the limelight and the lineup, he eventually recovered to hit 46 homers for Toronto in 1998 (the same year his former Oakland "Bash Brother" Mark McGwire hit a record 70).

—C. Kenyon Silvey

Further Reading:

Aaseng, Nathan. Jose Canseco: Baseball's 40-40 Man. Minneapolis, Lerner Publications, 1989.

Scheinin, Richard. Field of Screams: The Dark Side of America's National Pastime. New York, W. W. Norton & Company, 1994.