José Canseco Capas, Jr. (born July 2, 1964 in Havana, Cuba) is a former outfielder and designated hitter in Major League Baseball, and is the twin brother of former major league player Ozzie Canseco. His family left Cuba when he and his brother were infants, and he grew up in Miami, United States.
Canseco did not attend college on a baseball scholarship. He was signed by the Oakland Athletics in 1982 and reached the major leagues in 1986, causing a splash immediately. He was named the American League's Rookie of the Year after connecting on 33 home runs that year. In 1987, he was joined on the team by Mark McGwire, who hit 49 home runs that year, and together they became known as the "Bash Brothers." In 1988, Canseco became the first player in major league history to hit at least 40 homers and steal at least 40 bases in the same year. That year, he helped the Athletics to the World Series but they lost to the Los Angeles Dodgers in five games. Canseco was unanimously named the American League's Most Valuable Player in 1988.
In 1989, Canseco was injured most of the year, but he still managed to hit 17 homers as the Athletics won their first World Series since 1974, beating the San Francisco Giants in four games. The 1989 Series was interrupted before Game 3 by a major earthquake in the San Francisco Bay Area.
Canseco came back in full strength in 1990, hitting 37 homers and taking the A's to the World Series once again. But this time it was his team that got swept, losing to the Cincinnati Reds in four games. Canseco continued to be productive, but after 1991 when he hit 44 homeruns his career hit a plateau, never accomplishing what many expected he was capable of in the face of frequent injuries and controversy. In 1992 he was traded to the Texas Rangers, the first of many junkets around the league.
In 1993, Canseco received unwanted attention when, during a game against the Cleveland Indians, Carlos Martínez hit a fly ball that Canseco lost in the lights. The ball hit him in the head and bounced over the wall for a home run. That same season, Canseco suffered further indignity and ridicule when he asked to pitch during a runaway loss; he injured his arm, underwent Tommy John surgery, and was lost for the remainder of the season.
Canseco's personal life has also had its troubles. In 1989, his first wife, Esther Haddad, whom he married in November 1988, accused him of domestic violence after he allegedly ran his car into hers. That was the beginning of a series of accusations and run-ins with the law while Canseco was in the public spotlight. He divorced in 1991 and remarried in August 1996, to Jessica Sekely; he was arrested in November 1997 for allegedly hitting her. In January 1998 he was sentenced to probation and required to have counseling. The couple divorced in 1999. In October 2001, he and his brother got into a fight with two California tourists at a Miami Beach nightclub that left one man with a broken nose and another needing 20 stitches in his lip; Canseco was charged with two counts of aggravated battery. In 2005, his ex-wife, using the name of Jessica Canseco, was featured in the September issue of Playboy magazine.
Canseco did have one last great season in 1998 in which he hit 46 homeruns and stole 29 bases, the most he had stolen since the 40 he stole in 1988. He was a Blue Jay that year, but his comeback was missed by most fans because of the homerun race in the National League between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Canseco then went to Tampa Bay, where he was having a monster homerun season when his body broke down, yet again. He played briefly with the New York Yankees, and was on the 2000 World Champion team, but he only batted once, striking out.
Canseco retired in May 2002 after a string of injury-filled seasons. His 462 career home runs rank him 26th on the all-time list. Canseco made a brief comeback attempt in 2004, but was not offered a spot with the Los Angeles Dodgers after spring training.
In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids in a tell-all book, Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big. Canseco also claimed that up to 85% of major league players took steroids, a figure disputed by many in the game but which approximated the estimate given by former player and admitted steroid user Ken Caminiti, who had died in 2004. In the book, Canseco specifically identified former teammates Mark McGwire, Jason Giambi, Rafael Palmeiro, Iván Rodríguez, and Juan González as fellow steroid users. Giambi is believed to have admitted to steroid use in testimony before a grand jury investigating the BALCO case.
At a Congressional hearing on the subject of steroids in sports, Palmeiro categorically denied using performance-enhancing drugs, while McGwire repeatedly and somewhat conspicuously refused to answer questions on his own suspected use. Canseco's book became a New York Times bestseller. On August 1, 2005, Palmeiro was suspended for 10 days by Major League Baseball after testing positive for steroids, per MLB's substance abuse policy.
In March 2005, it was announced that Canseco would join Bronson Pinchot, Omarosa Manigault-Stallworth, Janice Dickinson, Carey Hart, Caprice Bourret, and Sandi "Pepa" Denton on the 5th season of the VH1 series The Surreal Life.
- First player (and one of only three) to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season.
- José Canseco joined Ruppert Jones, Ricky Lee Nelson, Dave Kingman, Alvaro Espinoza and Kevin Millar as the only players in MLB history to hit a fair ball that got stuck in a stadium obstruction .
- MLB players who have hit 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break
- List of players from Cuba in Major League Baseball
- List of Cubans