Jose Canseco

José Canseco Capas Jr. (born July 2, 1964)[1] is a Cuban-American former Major League Baseball (MLB) outfielder and designated hitter. During his time with the Oakland Athletics, he established himself as one of the premier power hitters in the game. He won the Rookie of the Year (1986), and Most Valuable Player award (1988), and was a six-time All-Star. Canseco is a two-time World Series champion with the Oakland A's (1989) and the New York Yankees (2000).

Jose Canseco
Canseco in 2009
Outfielder / Designated hitter
Born: (1964-07-02) July 2, 1964
Havana, Cuba
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 2, 1985, for the Oakland Athletics
Last MLB appearance
October 6, 2001, for the Chicago White Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.266
Home runs462
Runs batted in1,407
Career highlights and awards

In 1988 Canseco became the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in one season and won the Silver Slugger award four times: three as an AL outfielder (1988, 1990, 1991), and once as a designated hitter (1998). He ranks 4th all time in A's history with 254 home runs and is one of 14 players in MLB history with 400 home runs and 200 stolen bases. Despite his many injuries during the later part of his career, Canseco averaged 40 home runs, 120 RBIs and 102 runs scored every 162 games.

As of 2021, Canseco's 462 career home runs rank him 37th on the MLB all-time list, among active players, slugger Edwin Encarnacion is the closest to Canseco on the list, with 424 home runs. At one time Canseco was the all-time leader in home runs among Latino players; but was later surpassed by Manny Ramirez, Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Carlos Delgado, Rafael Palmeiro, Alex Rodriguez, Sammy Sosa, and Miguel Cabrera. He was the first player to hit 30 home runs for four different teams: Oakland (1986–88, 1990, 1991), Texas (1994), Toronto (1998), and Tampa Bay (1999). This record was later surpassed by Fred McGriff and Gary Sheffield who did it for five different teams.

Canseco admitted using performance-enhancing drugs during his major-league playing career, and in 2005 wrote a tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, in which he claimed that the vast majority of MLB players use steroids. After retiring from Major League Baseball, he also competed in boxing and mixed martial arts.

Although he has not played Major League Baseball since 2001, Canseco has played for numerous minor-league teams over the years, most recently in 2018, when he was 53 years of age, for the Normal CornBelters of the Independent Frontier League. In recent years, he has usually played just a few games per season, but in 2011, he played 64 out of 88 games for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American League. Canseco has played 30 seasons of professional baseball over a span of 36 years between 1982 and 2018.

Early years

Canseco was born in Havana, Cuba, the son of Jose Sr. and Barbara Canseco. He has a twin brother Ozzie Canseco, who is also a former major league player. When Fidel Castro came into power in 1959, Jose Sr., a territory manager for the oil and gasoline corporation Esso as well as a part-time English teacher, lost his job and eventually his home. The family was allowed to leave Cuba in 1965, when the twins were barely 1 year old, and settled in the Miami area, where Jose Sr. became a territory manager for another oil and gasoline concern, Amoco, and a part-time security guard.

The younger Jose Canseco played baseball at Miami Coral Park High School, where he failed to make the varsity team until his senior year. He was named Most Valuable Player of the junior varsity team in his junior year, and of the varsity team the following year. He graduated in 1982.[1]

Baseball career (1982–2001)

Minor League Baseball (1982–1985)

The Oakland Athletics drafted Canseco in the 15th round of the 1982 Major League Baseball draft. He made his professional baseball debut with the Miami Marlins of the Florida State League and also played Minor League Baseball with the Medford A's, Madison Muskies, Idaho Falls A's, and the Modesto A's, along with the Tacoma Tigers. Canseco started the 1985 season with the Class-AA Huntsville Stars and became known as "Parkway Jose" for his long home runs (25 in half a season) that went close to the Memorial Parkway behind Joe Davis Stadium.[2] Canseco was nicknamed "The Natural", with some analysts saying he was the best prospect since Willie Mays. Oakland A's hitting coach Bob Watson said that Canseco was a mixture of Roberto Clemente, Dale Murphy, and Reggie Jackson. Others touted Canseco as the next Mickey Mantle.[3][4][5]

Oakland Athletics (1985–92)

In 1985, Canseco won the Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year Award, and was a late season call-up for the Oakland Athletics. He made his Major League debut on September 2 and struck out in his one at-bat against the Baltimore Orioles. His first hit was off Ron Guidry of the New York Yankees on September 7.[6] and his first home run was off Jeff Russell of the Texas Rangers on September 9.[7] He played in 29 games in the major leagues in 1985. He established himself in 1986, his first full season, being named the American League's Rookie of the Year (the first by an Athletic since Harry Byrd in 1952 with what were then the Philadelphia Athletics), with 33 home runs and 117 RBIs. In 1987, Mark McGwire joined Canseco on the Athletics; McGwire hit 49 home runs that year and was also named the American League Rookie of the Year. Together, he and Canseco formed a fearsome offensive tandem, known as the "Bash Brothers". He followed his rookie season with an equal performance in 1987, his sophomore year. He improved his batting average from .240 in '86 to .257 in '87, hitting 31 home runs, 113 runs batted in (6th in the AL), 35 doubles (10th) in 691 at bats (9th), while missing only 3 games the entire season. He was also 5th in the league with 157 strike outs. He finished 23rd in the MVP ballot. He combined with Mark McGwire for a total of 80 home runs and 236 runs batted in, making the young tandem (Canseco was 22 years old and McGwire 23) the most dangerous in years to come, drawing comparisons to the likes of Mickey Mantle/Roger Maris and Hank Aaron/Eddie Mathews.

Canseco with the A's in 1989

In April 1988, Canseco guaranteed he would hit at least 40 home runs and steal at least 40 bases in the upcoming season.[8] He went on to record 42 home runs and 40 steals becoming the first player in MLB history to hit the 40–40 mark in a single season (a fact unknown to him at that time). In recognition of his record, the street in front of his former high school was named after him but was later rescinded in 2008 after he admitted to previously using drugs throughout his career.[9][10] That same year the Athletics swept the Boston Red Sox in 4 games in the ALCS, for the series Canseco had a .313 batting average with 3 home runs in 4 games. The A's met the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series, a matchup that would feature the best hitter in the AL facing the best pitcher and eventual NL Cy Young Award winner Orel Hershiser, the Dodgers prevailed, upsetting the A's in five games. Canseco hit a grand slam in Game 1 on his first official World Series at-bat (second plate appearance, he was hit by a pitch in the first inning) but it would be his only hit in the Series. He was unanimously named the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1988, with a .307 batting average, 120 runs scored, 124 RBIs, 42 home runs a .569 Slugging Percentage and 40 stolen bases. He also won his first Silver Slugger Award and was a starter in the outfield in the all star game, batting cleanup.

In 1989, Canseco missed 97 games of the regular season, most of them because of a broken wrist during the preseason. Despite not playing a single game in the first half of year, he was voted as one of the starting outfielders for the American League All-Star squad. He managed to hit 17 home runs with 57 RBIs in barely 65 games played (an equivalent to 40+ home runs and 130+ RBIs had he played a full season) as the Athletics won the AL West and their first World Series since 1974, beating the San Francisco Giants in four games. Canseco had a solid postseason hitting for a .323 batting average and 2 home runs including one in the ALCS against the Blue Jays that reached the upper deck of the SkyDome. Against the Giants, in the World Series, he hit for a .357 average with a home run in Game 3. The 1989 Series was interrupted before Game 3 by a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.

As the reigning World Series Champs, the Oakland Athletics were favorites to repeat, and they were hopeful that Canseco would remain healthy throughout the 1990 season. Canseco started to have back problems, an issue that would become recurrent. Despite missing over 20 games due to injury during the first part of the season, he received a then-record 5-year, $23.5 million dollar contract, making him the highest paid player in Major League history. By the All Star Break, he had played only in 64 games, hitting .258 with 18 home runs (10 behind the American League leader Cecil Fielder). Despite a subpar first half, Canseco was voted to start in the All Star Game with the most votes in the American League. He finished 3rd in the league with 37 home runs, behind Fielder (52) and teammate Mark McGwire (39). In 131 games he had 101 runs batted in and 19 stolen bases. It was the 4th time in 5 years that he had 100+ RBIs. The Oakland A's won their division with a league-best 103 wins and were the favorites to win the World Series. Canseco had a discrete ALCS hitting .182 (2 for 11) with 5 strikeouts, but the A's swept the Boston Red Sox 4 games to 0, and moved on to play in their third World Series in a row, this time against the Cincinnati Reds. Canseco struggled both at the plate and in the outfield, missing on two key plays in game 2. In the same game, he had his only hit of the series, a 2-run home run against Danny Jackson. After going 0 for 4 in game 3, and 1 for 11 in the series, Canseco was benched in game 4. Manager Tony LaRussa cited Jose's sore back and injured middle finger as the reasons for taking him out of the lineup, but there was speculation that his own teammates requested LaRussa to bench Canseco due to his poor outfield performance. Down 2 runs to 1 and facing elimination in game 4, Canseco entered as a pinch-hitter in the bottom of the 9th, but he grounded out to third for the second out of the inning. One batter later, the Reds completed the sweep over a heavily-favored Oakland team. At the end of the year, Canseco won his second Silver Slugger award and finished 12th in the AL MVP ballot.

Canseco continued to be productive the following year; by the All-Star break of the '91 season he had 21 home runs and 63 RBIs but inexplicably did not receive All-Star Game considerations by either the fans or as a back up, as his own A's skipper Tony LaRussa, managing the AL for the 3rd straight year, went instead with Athletics outfielder Dave Henderson, who had lesser offensive numbers than Jose, leading many to believe that the relationship between Canseco and LaRussa had started to deteriorate. He finished the 1991 season with 44 home runs and captured the second home run crown of his career (tied with Detroit's Cecil Fielder) while finishing 4th in the MVP ballot, the Athletics however missed the playoffs for the first time in three years, finishing 4th in the AL West. By 1991 Canseco was at his peak and was reported to be the highest paid player in MLB.

The Athletics returned to contention in 1992 and with 18 home runs by the All-Star break, Canseco was voted to start his 4th Mid Summer Classic in 5 years but he was unable to play due to injury.

From 1986 to 1992 with the A's and despite missing roughly 120 games between 1989 and 1990 and about 20 more during the first half of the 1992 season, Canseco averaged 32 home runs a year, had 100+ RBIs 5 times, also averaged 40 Home Runs, 125 RBI and 22 Stolen Bases per every 162 games played, captured AL Rookie of the Year honors, 2 home run titles, an MVP award, 3 Silver Slugger Awards, 3 American League Pennants, a World Series ring, and was selected to 5 All-Star Games in his first 7 full Major League seasons. His 7 career postseason home runs are the all-time record for the Athletics franchise (1901-2020)

Texas Rangers (1992–94)

On August 31, 1992, in the middle of a game and while Canseco was in the on-deck circle, the A's traded him to the Texas Rangers for Rubén Sierra, Jeff Russell, Bobby Witt, and cash. At the moment of the trade, the A's were leading the American League West Division by 6 1/2 games, and the Oakland front office was looking to fortify their pitching down the stretch. A's general manager Sandy Alderson announced the trade while the Athletics were still playing the Orioles that night. The trade sent shockwaves throughout Major League Baseball, as Canseco was considered at the time the best player and baseball's most scrutinized celebrity. From 1986 until the date of the trade no other player had hit more home runs (226) in the major leagues. In Texas Canseco joined Latino stars Rafael Palmeiro, Juan González and Iván Rodríguez. Despite injuries and the trade to the Rangers, Canseco managed to hit 26 home runs and had 87 runs batted in, playing 115 games in 1992 for the Athletics and the Rangers.

On May 26, 1993, during a game against the Cleveland Indians, Carlos Martínez hit a fly ball that Canseco lost sight of as he was crossing the warning track. The ball hit him in the head and bounced over the wall for a home run.[11] The cap[11][12][13] Canseco was wearing on that play, which This Week in Baseball rated in 1998 as the greatest blooper of the show's first 21 years, is in the Seth Swirsky collection. After the incident, the Harrisburg Heat offered him a soccer contract.[14] Three days later, Canseco asked his manager, Kevin Kennedy, to let him pitch the eighth inning of a runaway loss to the Boston Red Sox, and becoming the first ever positional player to pitch for the Rangers; he injured his arm, underwent Tommy John surgery, and was lost for the remainder of the season.[15] In his pitching appearance, Canseco allowed three earned runs on two hits and three walks, throwing 33 pitches, but only 12 for strikes.[16] He finished the '93 season hitting .256 with 10 home runs and 46 RBIs in 60 games.

In the 1994 strike-shortened season, Canseco again returned to his former status of a power hitter with 31 home runs and 90 RBIs in 111 games. Canseco also stole 15 bases and posted a .282 batting average. He was named The Sporting News Comeback Player of the Year in 1994 and finished in 11th place in the American League Most Valuable Player voting.

Boston Red Sox (1995–1996)

After playing with the Rangers from 1992 to 1994, Canseco moved on to play with the Boston Red Sox in 1995 along with 1986 AL MVP Roger Clemens and Mo Vaughn, the MVP of the ‘95 season. The Red Sox captured the AL East Division title to advance to the ALDS, making it Canseco's first postseason in 5 years. The Red Sox were swept by the Cleveland Indians in the American League Division Series 3 games to 0. In Game 2, Canseco once again faced Orel Hershiser, going 0 for 3 with a Strikeout. Dating back to the ‘88 World Series, Canseco was 0 for 11 with 3 strikeouts against Hershiser, lifetime in 3 postseason matchups. During the regular season, he hit 24 home runs with a .306 batting average, his highest since 1988. His last home run of the '95 season against Jesse Orosco was the 300th of his career.

Canseco had a great first half to the 1996 season, hitting 26 home runs by the All-Star break (3rd in the league at that point), but he was sidelined during August and part of September due to a back injury. He finished the season with a .289/.400/.589 slash line with 28 home runs, 82 runs batted in and 22 doubles in 96 games.

Although he was productive when he was in the lineup, Canseco missed over 100 games during his 2-year tenure with Boston, playing 102 and 96 games in the ‘95 and ‘96 seasons. He averaged 43 home runs, 134 RBIs, 108 runs, 39 doubles and a .289 batting average per every 162 games played with the Red Sox.

Return to Oakland (1997)

In January 1997, he was traded to the Oakland Athletics, reuniting him with Bash Brother Mark McGwire. Health-wise, he had a promising start to the season, playing in 83 games in the first half with 18 home runs by the All-Star break but he suffered a back injury yet again. In his book Juiced, Canseco mentioned that upon his return from injury during the '97 season, he was informed by manager Art Howe that the front office instructed him not to play Canseco to prevent him from getting the minimum plate appearances that would trigger the renewal of his contract for the following year.

Canseco's 23 home runs that season gave him a total of 254 in an A's uniform, placing him 4th in franchise history.

Toronto Blue Jays (1998)

After signing a one-year/$3.8 million contract, Canseco had a productive season again with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998 playing alongside former Red Sox teammate Roger Clemens. For the first time in his career he wore a number other than his traditional #33, switching to #44 for the first part of the season (long-time Blue Jay and World Series hero Ed Sprague wore #33 for the Jays until he was traded later in the '98 season). He finished the season playing 151 games, his highest in 8 years. Splitting duties as DH and in the outfield, he hit a career-high 46 home runs, 3rd best in the AL, and stole 29 bases, the most he had stolen since the 40 he stole in 1988. He also led the league in strikeouts with 159. He won the AL Silver Slugger award (4th of his career) but his comeback was missed by most fans because of the home run race in the National League between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.

Final seasons (1999–2001)

Despite hitting a career-high 46 home runs in 1998, Canseco drew minimal attention in the free agent market. In 1999, he signed a three-year contract with the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The contract included a clause stating that if Canseco were to be elected to the Hall of Fame he would be depicted as a member of the Devil Rays. That year he took the American League by storm, hitting 10 home runs in April, and leading the AL with 31 by the All-Star break, including number 400 for his career against Toronto's Kelvim Escobar. On pace for 60+ homers for the season, he was voted to the AL All-Star team as the starting DH for the American League, making his first All Star selection in 7 years. At that point, Canseco was the 14th player in MLB history to hit 30+ Home Runs before the All Star Break (After Shohei Ohtani did it in 2021, he's now 1 of 31 players to do so) However, he injured his back days before the mid-summer classic and missed the game, as well as the Home Run Derby in Fenway Park. He finished the season with 34 home runs for the 1999 season.[17][18]

In February 2000 before the start of spring training for the following MLB season, Canseco played in the MLBPA organized Big League Challenge home run derby in Las Vegas at Cashman Field. He competed against a field of 12 that included notable sluggers such as Mark McGwire, Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, and Mike Piazza.[19] Canseco won the tournament, defeating Rafael Palmeiro in the final.[20]

Canseco began the 2000 season with the Devil Rays, hitting only 9 home runs in 61 games, and, by August, was claimed off waivers by the New York Yankees, which caught many, including Yankees manager Joe Torre, off guard, as the Yankees had four other players who fulfilled a similar role as Canseco, such as Dave Justice and Glenallen Hill.[21] Yankees General Manager Brian Cashman made the claim to prevent the Athletics, Red Sox and Blue Jays, who were in a close race with the Yankees, from acquiring Canseco.[22]

In a lesser role, splitting duties as an outfielder, DH and pinch hitter, Canseco played in 37 games hitting .243 with 6 home runs. He struck out in his only plate appearance in the 2000 World Series against the New York Mets, but earned his second World Series ring when they defeated the Mets in five games. Despite this achievement Canseco later called his Yankees tenure "the worst time of [his] life" due to receiving limited playing time. His short stint with the Yankees marked the third time he was Roger Clemens's teammate, a fact later magnified by the media due to the steroid controversy, the Mitchell Report and the infamous pool party at Canseco's house two years prior while both played with the Blue Jays.[22]

The Anaheim Angels cut Canseco in spring training in 2001. Coincidentally, he lost the DH spot to Glenallen Hill, with whom he shared at-bats with the Yankees. (Hill finished the season hitting .136, with 1 Home Run in 16 games). He spent half of the season with the Newark Bears of the independent Atlantic League before joining the Chicago White Sox. As the White Sox DH, he finished the season with 16 home runs and 49 RBI in only 76 games (a rate of 34 home runs and 104 RBIs had he played the entire season), including the last multi-home run game of his career against the Kansas City Royals on August 1. His 462nd and final career home run came against Mike Mussina of the New York Yankees. In 2002, Canseco was signed by the Montreal Expos, at that time owned by Major League Baseball and had Omar Minaya as General Manager and Frank Robinson as Manager. He was expected to be their left fielder, and DH during inter-league play, in what would have been Canseco's first time playing for a National League team; however, he was again released prior to the regular season beginning, this time on March 27. Opening Day was scheduled to be March 31. With very little time before the season started, Canseco did not find a team looking for a DH and signed a minor league contract with the White Sox, but did not appear in a major league game for the 2002 season.

38 home runs shy of 500 for his career, Canseco officially retired from Major League Baseball in May 2002 after spending some time playing for the White Sox Triple-A affiliate Charlotte Knights. He made a brief comeback attempt in 2004, but was not offered a spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers.[23][24]

Independent League career (2006–present)

Canseco pitching for the Yuma Scorpions

On June 29, 2006, the independent Golden Baseball League announced Canseco had agreed to a one-year contract to play with the San Diego Surf Dawgs. The League said Canseco had agreed to be subjected to its drug-testing policy "that immediately expels any players found using steroids or illegal drugs."[25] After playing one game for the Surf Dawgs, Canseco was traded to the Long Beach Armada on July 5, 2006. He requested the trade due to "family obligations."[26] On July 31, 2006, Canseco won the Golden Baseball League's Home Run Derby.[27]

Canseco signed a short team deal with the Laredo Broncos of the United Baseball League on August 14, 2010. He served as bench coach and designated hitter.[28]

On April 11, 2011, Canseco signed a deal as a player/manager for the Yuma Scorpions of the North American League.[28] At the age of 46, he played 64 out of 88 games and batted .258 with 8 home runs and 46 RBI. He was not the oldest player on the team: his twin brother Ozzie appeared in 12 games, mostly as a designated hitter, and 52-year-old Tony Phillips appeared in 24 games, mostly as a third baseman.

Canseco joined the Quintana Roo Tigres of the Mexican League in 2012, but was reportedly banned for using testosterone.[29]

On April 20, 2012, the Worcester Tornadoes, of the Canadian American Association of Professional Baseball, announced that they had signed Canseco to a one-season contract[30] for a salary of one thousand dollars a month.[31] In the beginning of August 2012, Canseco left the Tornadoes due to concerns of not receiving his salary, a conflict which led him to sue the team.[32] Canseco quickly signed with the Rio Grande Valley WhiteWings of the North American League. However, his debut was delayed due to a family emergency.[33]

In early 2013 Canseco played in the Texas Winter League but was only 3 for 16 at the plate.[34] He signed with the Fort Worth Cats of the United League to start the 2013 season.[35]

In 2015, 2016 and 2017, Canseco had short playing stints in the Pacific Association, mostly with the Pittsburg Diamonds.[36] He played three games for the Frontier League's Normal CornBelters in 2018.

Amateur Adult Baseball (2011 and 2016)

In March 2011, Canseco played a few games with the Valley Rays in the Pacific Coast Baseball League in Los Angeles.[37]

In May 2016, Canseco made an appearance for the SoCal Glory in the 35+ MSBL Las Vegas Open – National Tournament.

Performance-enhancing drugs

In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids with Jorge Delgado, Damaso Moreno, and Manuel Collado in a tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. Canseco also claimed that up to 85% of major league players took steroids, a figure disputed by many in the game. In the book, Canseco specifically identified former teammates Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Iván Rodríguez, and Juan González as fellow steroid users, and admitted that he injected them.[38] Most of the players named in the book initially denied steroid use, though Giambi admitted to steroid use in testimony before a grand jury investigating the BALCO case and on January 11, 2010, McGwire admitted publicly to using steroids.

At a Congressional hearing on the subject of steroids in sports, Palmeiro categorically denied using performance-enhancing drugs, while McGwire repeatedly refused to answer questions on his own suspected use, saying he "didn't want to talk about the past." Canseco's book became a New York Times bestseller. On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days by Major League Baseball after testing positive for steroids.

On December 13, 2007, José Canseco and Jorge Delgado were cited in the Mitchell Report (The Report to the Commissioner of Baseball of an Independent Investigation into the Illegal Use of Steroids and Other Performance Enhancing Substances by Players in Major League Baseball).[39] On December 20, 2007, Canseco was also named in Jason Grimsley's unsealed affidavit as a user of steroids. Canseco and Grimsley were teammates on the 2000 New York Yankees.[40]

On December 30, 2007, it was announced that Canseco had reached a deal for his sequel to Juiced. The sequel is titled Vindicated, which hit bookstores by Opening Day 2008. This book has information on Alex Rodriguez and Albert Belle, as suggested by Canseco. The book was a "clarification" of names that should've been mentioned in the Mitchell Report.

In 2010 Canseco spoke out against PEDs that was covered by ESPN and other news outlets by advocating baseball's youth to not try them and criticized their effectiveness overall:

"These kids don't need steroids to become players... we overemphasize the steroids and not the athletic ability and skills of these people. We're taking away the hard work the athlete puts in and saying he became great just because of steroids. Let me give you a perfect example. I have an identical twin brother, Ozzie. He is the closest thing to me genetically. And in my prime I was a super athlete". "My twin brother used the same chemicals, same workouts, the same nutrition. Why didn't he make it in the big leagues? That is the perfect example that we are giving steroids way too much credit. If steroids are that great it would have made him a superstar."[41]

In a 2012 Sportsnet Interview article, Canseco said one of his only seasons without performance-enhancing drugs was in 1998 with the Toronto Blue Jays because he was in the process of a divorce and "didn't want to use steroids while handling breakup-induced depression".[42]

Outside baseball

While still a player, he was a guest star on The Simpsons and Nash Bridges. Since his retirement, Canseco has appeared on Late Show with David Letterman, 60 Minutes, The Big Idea with Donny Deutsch, "Boomer and Carton", Howard Stern, Jimmy Kimmel Live!, CMI: The Chris Myers Interview, and Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List. In 2003, he was featured in the reality-TV special Stripper's Ball: Jenna Jameson with Dennis Rodman and Magic Johnson.[43] He was a cast member in Season 5 of The Surreal Life with Janice Dickinson, Pepa of Salt-N-Pepa, Bronson Pinchot, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Caprice Bourret, and Carey Hart.[44] Canseco has a film cameo playing himself in the 2017 basketball drama Slamma Jamma as a judge in a slam dunk competition.

In 2007, he received 6 Hall of Fame votes. This accounted for 1.1% of the ballots, failing to reach the 5% threshold necessary to stay on the ballot for another year. However, he can be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Committee of Baseball Veterans.

In May 2008, Philadelphia sportscaster and former NFL football player Vai Sikahema accepted a challenge from Canseco to fight him for $30,000. Canseco claims to have earned black belts in kung fu and taekwondo, while Sikahema fought in the Golden Gloves tournament won by Sugar Ray Leonard. The fight took place on July 12 in Atlantic City at the Bernie Robbins stadium.[45] The 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m) Sikahema knocked out the 6 ft 4 in (1.93 m) Canseco in the first round.

On January 24, 2009, Canseco fought radio personality and former child actor Danny Bonaduce in Aston Township, Pennsylvania; the three-round match ended in a majority draw.[46][47]

Canseco claims to hold black belts in karate and taekwondo, and to practice Muay Thai, as well as describing himself as "an expert with nunchakus".[48] He made his mixed martial arts debut at Dream 9 on May 26, 2009, where he fought 7 ft 2 in (2.18 m) kickboxer Hong-man Choi as part of Dream's Super Hulk Tournament. Canseco would lose the fight after slipping, and tapping out to Choi's ground and pound.[49][50]

On November 6, 2009, Canseco defeated Todd Poulton in a Celebrity Boxing Federation bout in Springfield, Massachusetts.[51] As of December 2010, he had launched a Twitter campaign in hopes of getting invited to spring training by Mets GM Sandy Alderson.

Beginning March 6, 2011, Canseco was a contestant on The Celebrity Apprentice. He quit the show on the April 3, 2011, citing his father's ailing health. Canseco later announced on Twitter that his father died shortly after he left the show. Canseco did earn $25,000 for his charity, the Baseball Assistance Team.

In 2012, Canseco accepted a home run derby challenge by Canadian Twitter user Evan Malamud, father of an autistic child, as part of a fundraiser for an initiative called Home Runs For Autism.[52] Canseco still remains active with the charity as their spokesperson.

He is also a columnist for Vice magazine.

Lane Patorti and Edward Stoney Landon finished a reality show concept based on former professional athletes being placed into smalltown sports leagues. TMZ reported Canseco was in talks to star in the show, A League of His Own.

In May 2013, Canseco provided the foreword to the novel Air Force Gator 2: Scales of Justice by Dan Ryckert.[53] In it, he claims the book about the alcoholic alligator pilot is a "weakly veiled" metaphor for his own life.[54]

On October 28, 2014, Canseco accidentally shot himself on his left hand injuring one of his fingers while attempting to clean his gun at home in Las Vegas. After having surgery performed he was able to recover the full use of the hand.[55]

Canseco was also portrayed by Andy Samberg in The Unauthorized Bash Brothers Experience alongside Mark McGwire (portrayed by Akiva Schaffer). The visual poem describes the two baseball players' careers and rampant steroid use in the 1980s.

On October 26, 2019, Canseco opened up his own Car Wash in Las Vegas, Nevada. Every Wednesday he signs autographs.[56]

Canseco fought Billy Football from Barstool Sports in a boxing match on February 5, 2021, and was knocked out in the first round.[57]

On February 10, 1989, Canseco was arrested in Florida for reckless driving after allegedly leading an officer on a 15-mile chase. He was found guilty and fined $500.[58]

On April 11, 1989, Canseco was arrested in California for carrying a loaded semi-automatic pistol in his car.[59] He was released on $2,500 bail and pleaded no contest.[60][61]

On February 13, 1992, Canseco was charged with aggravated battery for ramming his Porsche into a BMW driven by his then-wife Esther Canseco after a verbal altercation.[62][59] On March 19, 1992, Canseco pleaded not guilty to charges of aggravated assault and later underwent counseling and fulfilled a community-service requirement.[63]

In November 1997, Canseco was arrested for beating his then-wife Jessica Canseco.[64] In January 1998, he pleaded no contest and was sentenced to one year of probation and required to attend counseling.[65]

In October 2001, Canseco and his brother, Ozzie, got into a fight with two men at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip; both were charged with two counts of aggravated battery. The brothers both pleaded guilty and received both probation and community service.[66]

Following his retirement in May 2002, Canseco speculated about having been "blackballed" from Major League Baseball; it was then he announced he was writing a tell-all book about his baseball career and the increasing usage of anabolic steroids in baseball.

In March 2003, Canseco missed a court appearance while in California working out a custody dispute over his 6-year-old. The judge revoked his probation and sentenced him to two years under house arrest followed by three years' probation.[67]

In June 2003, Canseco was arrested at his home for probation violation after he tested positive for steroids. Canseco spent a month in jail without bail.[68]

In May 2008, Canseco revealed that he had lost his house in Encino, California to foreclosure saying his two divorces had cost him $7 to $8 million each.[69]

On October 10, 2008, Canseco was detained by immigration officials at a San Diego border crossing as he tried to bring a fertility drug from Mexico. He stated the drug was to help with his hormone replacement therapy, needed due to his use of steroids.[70] On November 4, 2008, Canseco pleaded guilty in Federal court and was sentenced to 12 months' unsupervised probation by U.S. Magistrate Judge Ruben B. Brooks.[71]

The 2008 A&E Network documentary Jose Canseco: Last Shot chronicles Canseco's attempts to end his steroid use. In it he also regrets ever writing his tell-all books and naming former teammates as steroid users, as he was never given the opportunity to participate in MLB-affiliated baseball. Since, he has tried unsuccessfully to reach out to former Bash Brother Mark McGwire and other ex-teammates.[72] In 2014, he returned to the Oakland Coliseum to take part in the reunion celebrating the 25th anniversary of the 1989 World Series championship team; this marked the first time Canseco took part in an official Major League Baseball event in almost 13 years. Mark McGwire, at the time coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers, did not attend the event.

On May 22, 2013, Canseco was named as a suspect in a rape allegation in Las Vegas. He broke the news himself on Twitter, denying the allegations and posting pictures and defamatory information about his accuser. On June 7, 2013, Canseco was cleared of any wrongdoing following an investigation. He was never charged.[73]

Mixed martial arts record

Professional record breakdown
1 match 0 wins 1 loss
By knockout 0 1
By submission 0 0
By decision 0 0
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 0–1 Hong Man Choi TKO (submission to punches) Dream 9 May 2009 1 1:17 Yokohama, Japan DREAM Hulk Grand Prix Quarterfinal

See also

  • List of Cuban Americans
  • List of Major League Baseball career home run leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball career stolen bases leaders
  • List of Major League Baseball players from Cuba
  • List of Cubans
  • List of Major League Baseball individual streaks
  • List of doping cases in sport
  • List of Major League Baseball players named in the Mitchell Report


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