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José Canseco: 1964—: Baseball Player

Confronted More Problems After Retirement

Canseco was still able to command more than $3 million a season from the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, where he played in 1999 and 2000, before joining the New York Yankees for the end of the 2000 season. Canseco joined the Yankees just in time for their World Series victory over the New York Mets; it was Canseco's fourth championship appearance and the second time he was a member of the winning team. His stint with the team turned out to be brief, however, and Canseco finished his major-league career at the end of the 2001 season with the Chicago White Sox. He spent part of the 2002 season with a minor league team in Charlotte, but announced in May that he was retiring from professional baseball. Over his seventeen seasons in the majors, Canseco had compiled a .266 batting average while hitting 462 home runs and earning 1,407 RBIs.

Although Canseco's career statistics were more than respectable, his image as a temperamental player who was often in trouble off the field continued to dog him. In November of 2001 Canseco and his brother—who played only two seasons of major league baseball in the early 1990s—were arrested after punching out two Miami Beach bar patrons on Halloween night. Although the bar patrons ended up with a broken nose and busted lip that required twenty stitches, Canseco insisted in comments made to the ESPN web site, "I know that my brother and myself were definitely victims and the girl I was with got sexually assaulted. We got attacked. We are the victims here. We just defended ourselves." In November of 2002 Canseco pled guilty to one count of felony aggravated battery and two counts of misdemeanor battery in exchange for three years probation, anger management classes, and 250 hours of community service. Ozzie Canseco received a similar sentence.

Canseco also made headlines after his retirement by threatening to publish a tell-all book about his experiences in major league baseball. His most disturbing allegations focused on the use of steroids by baseball players to improve their performance. Long rumored to have used steroids himself to bulk up and become a more powerful hitter, Canseco admitted privately that he had both injected and ingested steroids throughout his career; he also estimated that as many as eighty-five percent of players in the majors were using steroids. Despite his accomplishments on the field, Canseco's controversial remarks cast doubt on his future as a Baseball Hall of Fame inductee. "The last ten years people have been laughing at him,"San Francisco Chronicle writer Bruce Jenkins told USA Today in May of 2002, "Hall of Famers are not the object of scorn."



Sullivan, George, Sluggers: Twenty-Seven of Base-ball's Greatest, New York, Atheneum, 1991.


Baseball Digest, August 1999, p. 22.

Sports Illustrated, September 2, 2002, p. 34.

USA Today, May 15, 2002; May 17, 2002.

Wall Street Journal, June 7, 2002.


"Cansecos' trial opens; two rejected plea deal in August," ESPN Online, November 4, 2002, http://espn.go.com/nlb/news/2002/1104/1455438.html (March 26, 2003).

"Fight Leaves One Man with Broken Nose," November 13, 2001, ESPN Online, http://espn.go.com/nlb/news/2001/1113/1277769.html (March 26, 2003).

"José Canseco agrees to three years' probation," ESPN Online, November 5, 2002, http://espn.go.com/nlb/news/2002/1105/1456276.html (March 26, 2003).

"José Canseco Misses Hearing on Charges from Nightclub Scuffle," Sports Server Website, August 13, 2002, http://www.sportserver.com/blotter/v-text/story/497668p-3968719c.html?printer (March 26, 2003).

"José Canseco Statistics," Baseball Reference Website, http://www.baseball-reference.com/c/cansejo01.shtml (March 26, 2003).

"Literary agent: Canseco said he used steroids," ESPN Online, June 6, 2002, http://espn.go.com/mlb/news/2002/0606/1391783.html (March 26, 2003).

"Retired slugger says he plans to write tell-all book," ESPN Online, May 14, 2002, http://espn.go.com/nlb/news/2002/0514/1382336.html (March 26, 2003).

—Timothy Borden

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