One of the premier power hitters of his era, Canseco bashed 462 home runs during his 17-year career. He slugged 33 home runs as a rookie for the Oakland A’s in 1986, earning a trip to the All-Star Game and winning the American League’s Rookie of the Year award in the process. He hit 31 home runs the following season then had what is arguably his best season in 1988. Canseco led the league with 42 home runs that year while also stealing 40 bases. By doing so, he became the first man ever to achieve the 40-40 feat. It is an accomplishment that has been equaled just three times in the 30 years since. Canseco also hit a career-best .307 in 1988 and led the league in RBI’s with 124. He was the AL’s MVP that year and also won the first of four Silver Slugger awards. Canseco would go on to make four more all-star teams and cross the 40-home run threshold two more times. He appeared in four World Series, winning two of them, the first with Oakland in 1989 and the second with the New York Yankees in 2000. His last major-league season was 2001 when he hit 16 homes runs in 306 at bats for the Chicago White Sox.
There is obviously a lot of controversy around Canseco which I am well aware of. He played in an era where a huge percentage of players took steroids and he has been very vocal about this fact ever since he left that game. That said, he was still an absolute monster for much of his career. When I was a teenager, the vast majority of my friends hoarded his rookie cards because they were sure they would make them rich after Canseco finished his career and went to the Hall of Fame. It obviously didn’t work out that way, but that does not detract from just how dominant a player he was, especially during his years in Oakland. I do not think I can adequately express just how excited I was when I opened up the envelope and saw that he had taken the time to fill out the survey and sign the card. I have gotten a lot of big names to do this, guys like Bobby Thomson, Johnny Pesky and Bobby Richardson, just to name a few, but I never saw any of them play. I saw Canseco play which makes this, in many ways, the is the biggest success I have had thus far. I cannot thank Canseco enough for doing it and I am hopeful this might be a harbinger of good things to come when I start to reach out more to the players he competed against.
Jose Canseco – career stats