October 30, 2014
The tragedy of Jose Canseco: shoots self in hand
It’s long been said that former major league slugger Jose Canseco, while on his way to the Hall of Fame, shot himself in the foot, or worse, with his seemingly habitual use of steroids. Now, sadly, it can also be said that Canseco literally shot himself in a hand, apparently blowing off the middle finger of his left hand, in a shooting accident Tuesday at his Las Vegas home. That perhaps symbolizes just how far he’s fallen from his onetime hero status for many baseball fans, especially the purists felt that it was a middle finger with which Canseco had flicked off the national pastime by claiming that the vast majority of players use steroids. “In my prime I was a super athlete,” Canseco said at one point. “I was the fastest guy in the game. I was 240 pounds and I could hit a baseball 600 feet. The best arm in the game.” SEE ALSO: Tragedy strikes rising star Oscar Taveras For in the late 1980s, Jose Canseco was what every young ballplayer wanted to be – a slugger with the home running hitter power and physique of Zeus who led the Oakland A’s to the 1989 World Series championship. Canseco was a Cuban-born, 6-foot, 4-inch muscular phenom who became the first major leaguer to have 40 homers and 40 stolen bases in the same season and looked like he would break every hitting record in the book. And here now at age 50, at World Series time, Canseco is again unloading and again doing damage with power that apparently wasn’t his own alone. It was steroids that shot off sorties at the height of his career. It was a gun he was cleaning in the kitchen when it fired, Jose stupidly not realizing the weapon was loaded. Classic Jose Canseco. A six-time All-Star, he hit 462 career home runs and was on his way to the Hall of Fame, dating Madonna when she was young and sexy, when it finally became apparent that Jose along with Barry Bonds and too many others had outsized, cartoonish heads and bodies, the products of better baseball through chemistry.
No one had to give Canseco a drug test, though. He admitted with some pride that he indulged in steroids and didn’t think there was anything wrong with them.But if baseball was going to punish him, he wanted to take others down with him. Canseco began ratting out what seemed like a couple teams of All Stars, at least, and wrote a book in 2005, “Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big.” In the book, he claimed that up to 85 percent of major league players took steroids, naming former teammates Mark McGwire, Rafael Palmeiro, Jason Giambi, Ivan Rodriguez and Juan Gonzalez and admitting that he injected them To his credit, though, Canseco wasn’t among the players who in 2005 lied in testimony before Congress on hearings that were brought about in part by his book. “I have never used steroids. Period,” Palmeiro told members of a House committee investigating steroid use. “I dont know how to say it any more clearly than that. Never.” Palmeiro soon tested positive in a steroids test and likely will also never get into the Hall of Fame despite his 500 home runs. But the saddest figure in that House hearing as Canseco looked on, may have been Mark McGwire, his former “Bash Brothers” teammate with the Athletics and once the game’s most celebrated slugger, who was convincingly evasive and on the verge of tears. It is all a disappointing chapter in American sports serving as a reminder to baseball fans of just what a tragic waste of talent there was in Canseco and how no one will really know how good he was and how good he could have been, with much the same that can be said of most players who used steroids and performance enhancing drugs. Today, Canseco at last says steroids ruined his career and led to financial troubles, including loss of his home to foreclosure and to sterility. http://voxxi.com/2014/10/29/tragedy-of-jose-canseco/