Tuesday, January 14, 2014

1993 TOPPS FINEST: #99 JOSE CANSECO


JOSE CANSECO MILKSHAKES WERE THE BOMB.



PUT A NAME AND A FACE TO PEDs.



DEFINING THE PLAYER

  • How do you remember Jose Canseco? The Adonis who became the first 40-40 player? The buffoon who once had a fly ball bounce off his head for a home run? The jail-bird with a rap sheet longer than one of his homers? The stoolie who violated clubhouse omerta and ratted out his steroid accomplices in a tell-all book? Probably for a little of all that. No doubt The Godfather of Steroids earned a place in baseball history for exploits on and off the field during a 17-year career. He hit 462 homers, drove in 1,407 runs, stole 200 bases and incinerated 1,001 bridges.

DEFINING MOMENT

  • On Sept. 28, 1988, Thomas Boswell of the Washington Post was interviewed on CBS' Nightwatch and told host Charlie Rose "I've heard players, when they're talking about steroid use, call it a Jose Canseco Milkshake.'' It's the first time someone publicly ties the Athletics' franchise player to PEDs, and it occurs a week before the ALCS starts. Obviously, Canseco denies it, and the story dies. He finally admits use in '05.

DEFINING SEASON

  • Powered by those milkshakes, Canseco busted out in '88. He won the AL MVP, unanimously over presumably clean Red Sox left fielder #197 Mike Greenwell. He hit 42 homers, stole 40 bags and hit a career-high .307. In addition to homers, he led baseball in RBI (124), slugging (.569) and OPS+ (170). 

FIVE FINAL FACTS

  1. Baseball America named Canseco its Minor League Player of the Year in '85 after hitting 36 homers and driving in 127 between Double- and Triple-A. 
  2. Continued his torrid offensive ways with the Athletics the next year, winning AL Rookie of the Year with a 33-homer, 117-RBI season.
  3. Became the first 40-40 player on Sept. 23, 1988, after stealing two bases against the Brewers.
  4. Finally wore out his welcome in Oakland in '92 when he was traded to the Rangers for #158 Ruben Sierra, Jeff Russell and Bobby Witt. He'd play for five other teams, including a one-season Oakland homecoming, over his final nine years.
  5. His '05 book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big, blew the whistle on some of the game's biggest stars, in addition to setting a record for longest title. He said he personally administered "milkshakes'' to #52 Rafael Palmeiro, #92 Mark McGwire, #47 Ivan Rodriguez, Jason Giambi and #116 Juan Gonzalez. Canseco also estimated 85 percent of baseball was dirty. While that might have been exaggerated, Canseco did shine a light on a dark corner of the game. For a price, of course. He was given a $100,000 advance, and the book sold about 200,000 copies.

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