Other Free Encyclopedias » Brief Biographies » Biographies: Katie Burke (1953–) Biography - Personal to Galeazzo Ciano (1903–1944) Biography » José Canseco: 1964—: Baseball Player Biography - Named Rookie Of The Year, Faced Numerous Legal And Physical Troubles, Confronted More Problems After Retirement

José Canseco: 1964—: Baseball Player - Named Rookie Of The Year

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Canseco's first two seasons in the minor leagues found him playing for teams in Miami, Idaho Falls, Idaho, and Medford, Oregon, where he led the Northwest League in strikeouts. It was not until the death of his mother in 1984 that Canseco seemed to revise his outlook on the game of baseball and took his playing seriously. Advancing to the A's Modesto affiliate in California that year, Canseco led the team in runs batted in (RBIs) and helped the squad win that year's league title. At the beginning of the 1985 season, Canseco was sent to the Huntsville Stars in Alabama, where he had eighty RBIs in fifty-eight games. After playing half the season in Huntsville, Canseco was called up to Washington to join the Tacoma Rainiers, where he compiled a .348 batting average in sixty games. On September 2, 1985, Canseco finally made his major-league debut with the Oakland A's as an outfielder. He played twenty-nine games in his first partial season in the majors and ended the season with an impressive .302 batting average.

Although Canseco had an unenviable record of striking out at the plate, the six-foot, four-inch, 240-pound player continued to rack up impressive batting statistics in his first seasons with the A's. In 157 games of the 1986 season, Canseco hit 33 home runs—almost breaking the team's record—and attained 117 RBIs in 600 trips to the plate. Despite leading the A's with 175 strikeouts, Canseco earned a .240 batting average and was named the American League's Rookie of the Year at the conclusion of the season. In 1987 Canseco improved his batting average to .257, with 31 home runs and another 113 RBIs.

For the 1988 season, Canseco boldly predicted that he would achieve something no other baseball player had accomplished: hit forty home runs and steal forty bases during the regular season. Considering that he had just fifteen stolen bases and 31 home runs the prior season, the goal seemed far-fetched. Yet Canseco closed in on the record with determination and on September 18, 1988, hit his fortieth homer of the year; he eventually closed the season with 42 home runs in all. Five days after his fortieth home run, Canseco stole two bases in a game against the Milwaukee Brewers, bringing his total to 40. Led by Canseco's slugging, the A's won their league title and faced the Los Angeles Dodgers in the World Series. The A's lost the series, but Canseco emerged from the season with a career-high .307 batting average. He also took home Most Valuable Player honors for the American League.


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