This Is Your Life, Jose   

Updated: May 28, 2008

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Despite just releasing a follow-up to a best-selling book, Jose Canseco is apparently in dire straits financially. What else could prompt the six-time All-Star – OK, he went 0-for-8 and missed three of the games due to injuries, but still – to agree to box former NFL return whiz Vai Sikahema for a mere $5,000?

This news item scores relatively high on the Page 2 Canseco bizarro rating scale (probably four out of a possible five), which got us thinking about other Canseco incidents through the years and where they rate:

Bash Brothers

AP Photo

We have a sneaking suspicion these guys were using more than just fried chicken and dry toast.

The elbow bash (1987)
Summary: The home plate celebration of choice between Canseco and Mark McGwire when they were better known as The Bash Brothers in the late '80s in Oakland. While almost extinct, the elbow bash still can be seen in the wild on rare occasions – like anytime former Yankees utility man Shelley Duncan manages to get into a game.
Bizarro rating:

Ticketed for driving 125 mph (1989)
Summary: Canseco was cited at 1:25 a.m. on Interstate 95 in South Florida in his famed metallic-red Jaguar XJS, making him baseball's only 40-40, 125-1:25 man. The following day, Canseco reportedly signed a blank ticket for a police officer at an autograph show. He told the Sporting News he added "140" after his signature. "That's how fast I was really going," he said as the officer and fans laughed.
Bizarro rating:

Arrested for gun possession (1989)
Summary: Canseco was arrested two months later in San Francisco for carrying a loaded gun in the same car. He subsequently lost an endorsement from the California Egg Commission, which canceled a TV commercial in which the slugger said, "Eggs are a terrific source of protein, and protein means power. You know what I do with my power."
Bizarro rating:

1-900-JOSE! (1989)
Summary: Just like Nintendo's Mario and other 1980s celebs, Canseco attempted to cash in on the 900-number craze. You could dial up 1-900-234-JOSE to hear Canseco discuss everything from the previous day's game to steroids and guns, all for the low rate of $2 for the first minute and $1 for each additional minute. As Jose himself reminded you at the end of the message, "Don't forget to call back every day!" Because Jose needs a new 9mm Glock!
Bizarro rating:

Jose Canseco

Michael Zagaris/MLB Photos/Getty Images

Sure enough, in 1989 Canseco denied using steroids.

Denies steroid use (1989)
Summary: In an interview with USA Today, Canseco said, ''I really don't know much about steroids. Why did the issue come up after I accomplished 40-40? It was to discredit the season that I had. Does steroids give you coordination? Nowadays, players are going to the weight room. Look at superstars like Bo Jackson. He's the best athlete I've ever seen. Why should I say he takes steroids? That's way out of line. Why would I try to take away from his ability? That's what people are trying to do to me – take away from all the hard work that I put in. There are no short cuts.''
Bizarro rating:

Brings large land tortoise into A's clubhouse (1991)
Summary: We can't even make this stuff up.
Bizarro rating:

Madonna (1991)
Summary: Even though the New York Post captured Canseco leaving Madonna's apartment on film, the 40-40 man claimed he never slept with her. In his 2005 book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big," Canseco claimed Madonna was obsessed with him and proposed to him. Considering the Material Girl is worth about $850 million, Jose might want a do-over on that one.
Bizarro rating:

Rams into estranged wife's car -- twice (1992)
Summary: Canseco deliberately crashed his Porsche into the BMW driven by his first wife, Esther, at 4:30 a.m. Feb. 13 in Miami. He posted bond and was released from police custody 15 minutes after his arrest. Was Jose trying to deliver an early Valentine's gift? We'll never know. Charges were dropped when he submitted to 26 hours of counseling.
Summary: We can't even make this stuff up.
Bizarro rating:

Jessica Canseco (1993-2000)
Summary: Was it love at first sight when Jose met Jessica while she was a waitress at Hooters in 1993? Apparently not, according to Jessica's own 2005 tell-all book, "Juicy: Confessions of a Former Baseball Wife." Jessica also gave us more dirt on Jose while appearing in the September 2005 issue of Playboy. At least that's what we heard from that guy who reads it for the articles.
Bizarro rating:

Ball bounces off head for home run (1993)
Summary: It's perhaps the most delicious blooper in baseball history – too bad MLB won't allow it to be posted on YouTube. On May 26, Carlos Martinez hit a deep shot that caromed off Jose's dome and over the fence at old Cleveland Stadium. Page 2's Jim Caple makes an excellent point when he wonders why it was ruled a home run and not a four-base error.
Bizarro rating:

Blows out arm while pitching in mop-up situation (1993)

Jose Canseco

AP Photo/Winslow Townson

This dubious relief appearance would end Canseco's 1993 season with Texas prematurely.

Summary: Just three days after his blooper extraordinaire, Canseco lobbied Rangers manager Kevin Kennedy to let him pitch in the eighth inning of a blowout loss in Boston. The result? One inning pitched, two hits, three walks, three earned runs – and ultimately, Tommy John surgery.
Bizarro rating:

Infamous pool party (1998)
Summary: Jose played host to a legendary barbecue for his Blue Jays teammates that became fodder for congressional testimony. Among the alleged happenings: Roger Clemens' nanny appearing in a peach bikini and board shorts, Debbie Clemens and Jessica Canseco comparing breast enhancements, and Brian McNamee eating a sandwich by the pool. If we only knew what happened once the keg was floated.
Bizarro rating:

Signs with the Devil Rays (1998)
Summary: Prior to the 1999 season, Canseco settled for a one-year deal with Tampa Bay worth only $2 million guaranteed – despite having hit 46 homers for Toronto the previous season. Reports indicated the contract required Canseco's Hall of Fame plaque to depict a Devil Rays cap if he was eventually enshrined in Cooperstown. Tampa Bay general manager Chuck LaMar later denied it.
Bizarro rating:

Nightclub fight with Ozzie (2001)

Jose and Ozzie Canseco

AP Photo/ Donna E. Natale Planas, POOL

If this was a game of Clue, the answer would be: Jose and Ozzie at the Opium nightclub with their bare knuckles.

Summary: Jose and his twin brother, Ozzie, brawled with two men at Opium, a Miami nightclub. Police said one of the men suffered a broken nose and the other needed 20 stitches in his lip. Jose later offered to take a polygraph test for reporters to prove his innocence … but the brothers eventually pleaded guilty to criminal battery charges and were sentenced to 18 months' probation.
Bizarro rating:

Gets backhanded compliment from Tony La Russa (2002)
Summary: When Canseco announced his baseball retirement, former manager Tony La Russa said, "This guy really could run and, when he was concentrating, play defense."
Bizarro rating:

Spend A Day With Jose (2003)
Summary: When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Or, in Canseco's case, when a judge puts you under house arrest for a 2001 nightclub brawl, charge fans to come spend the day with you. The opening price on was $2,500, and, after all the fake bids were filtered out, one fan had his dream come true – for the bargain price of $625, about the same price of 60 vials of Deca Durabolin.
Bizarro rating:

Jose Canseco

AP Photo/Chris O'Meara

Was Canseco a true Yankee? He won a ring in 2000. Then he sold it. But then he reneged on the deal.

Sells off career memorabilia – sort of (2005)
Summary: Canseco sold his 2000 Yankees World Series ring to a California collector for $40,000. Then, he backed out of the deal without explanation, according to the New York Post. Today, he apparently is selling the bat and ball he used to swat homer No. 40 and the cleats and the base itself from steal No. 40 in 1988. Asking price: $9,995. He also is apparently selling his 1988 ALCS championship ring.
Bizarro rating:

The demo tape (2005)
Summary: Since Canseco fancies himself a "natural action hero" (his words to the Los Angeles Times), of course he should share that with the world via the magic of movies. To do this, Canseco shopped himself around Hollywood with a tape of himself "deftly twirling a numchuck as a sultry woman in a nightgown lounges nearby." Nice idea, Jose, but who doesn't have a tape of themselves doing that?
Bizarro rating:

"The Surreal Life" (2005)
Summary: Flavor Flav. Janice Dickenson. Christopher Knight (aka Peter Brady). Those are just a few people who have resurrected their careers by appearing on VH1's "The Surreal Life," so why not Jose? Canseco appeared on the show's fifth season but ended up fading into Bolivian much like several other notable "Surreal" alums – Charo, Ron Jeremy, Verne Troyer, Vanilla Ice and Corey Feldman. Actually, this is pretty lofty company for Jose.
Bizarro rating:

Jose Canseco

AP Photo/Steve Yeater

Canseco brought his knuckler to the independent Golden Baseball League in 2006.

Signs with Golden Baseball League (2006)
Summary: Canseco signed a contract to be a designated hitter and knuckleballer with this independent California-based circuit in July and joined the San Diego Surf Dawgs, the same team for which former A's teammate Rickey Henderson played the previous season. After one game with San Diego (0-for-3), Canseco asked for a trade to the Long Beach Armada for family reasons, a move that was granted. He then hit .176 (12-for-68) with four home runs, won the GBL home run derby and pitched 4 1/3 innings, allowing seven baserunners and two earned runs.
Bizarro rating:

Mitchell report news conference (2007)
Summary: Even Canseco's critics agree his book "Juiced" helped get the Mitchell report rolling. Still, that wasn't enough for a front-row seat, or any seat, when Sen. George Mitchell unveiled the findings of his 409 pages at a New York news conference. MLB officials barred Canseco from entering the ballroom before the presser began. What did Jose expect from a league he accused of blacklisting him?
Bizarro rating:

Magglio Ordonez shakedown (2007)
Summary: According to The New York Times, Canseco threatened to include Tigers outfielder Magglio Ordonez in his most recent book, "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball." Apparently, the only way Ordonez could keep his name out of print was by giving Canseco $5 million to help finance a film. Ordonez's agent and the Tigers contacted the FBI over the alleged extortion attempt, but apparently all parties agreed that keeping Jose on the street was far more embarrassing than jail.
Bizarro rating:

Meets with MLB investigators in bookstore bathroom (2008)
Summary: Seriously, we can't even make this stuff up.
Bizarro rating:

Fears poisoning at book signing (2008)
Summary: Canseco sent back a courtesy coffee at a Chicago signing for "Vindicated," claiming the beverage could be tainted. He reportedly said, "Who made this coffee? If you don't know who made it, you've got to dump it. No way they are going to get me."
Bizarro rating:

Allows San Fernando Valley home to be foreclosed on (2008)
Summary: Canseco walked away from the Encino, Calif., house he bought for $2.9 million in 2005, saying it didn't make sense to continue paying the mortgage. Take a peek inside here.

Thumbnail illustrations by Kurt Snibbe. Mike Philbrick and Thomas Neumann are Page 2 editors.


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