News Column

Jose Canseco Back In Baseball with Independent League Team

April 27, 2012

John E. Hoover

Jose Canseco

Let's be clear: Jose Canseco is playing baseball again. But Jose Canseco is not making a comeback.

"To where? The Major Leagues? No!" Canseco told the Tulsa World on Thursday night before his celebrity appearance at the 21st annual Tulsa Charity Fight Night. "No, I'm just playing and having fun."

Canseco, 47, signed a one-year contract last week with an Independent League team near Boston. It made minor headlines, but Canseco said he has no grand designs on getting back into the majors.

"No, not really," he said. "I just love to play the game. So any chance I get to play independent baseball, I'm gonna play. I don't know how you say it -- Worcester Tornados. Wooster? I'm just gonna help out some of the players there. You know, I'm big on the art of power hitting. So I'd like to show them how to hit for power."

Canseco played three weeks for a Mexican League team earlier this spring but in March the league denied his attempt after saying Canseco tested positive for testosterone, a charge that Canseco denied. The Mexican League is a Triple-A level affiliate of Major League Baseball.

Canseco burned many MLB bridges with his 2005 tell-all book, "Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big."

Independent League teams have no ties to MLB, so Canseco is taking advantage of an unexpected opportunity. He said he thinks he can still play, though his last Major League game was at the end of a 17-year career in 2001.

"Yeah, I think I can still play," he said. "I mean, I can't run like I used to. I'm not gonna play defense. Probably just gonna DH.

"It's just fun. I love the game, and I'm gonna play until I physically can't. Which, maybe I've got two more good years in me, and that's basically it."

And after that, Canseco said he "might manage somewhere."

How would that come about?

"It's called a miracle," he said.

Canseco was called a liar after his first book. But following congressional hearings and the BALCO scandal, Canseco wrote a second book published in 2008 called "Vindicated: Big Names, Big Liars, and the Battle to Save Baseball." He said he's working on a third book that's "mostly on my life now, the aftermath, where I'm at financially, emotionally, relationship-wise with Major League Baseball."

In 2007, Canseco got six votes for the National Baseball Hall of Fame, well below the number he needed to stay on the ballot. But that's OK, he said.

"Oh, that's not up to me," Canseco said. "I mean, you've got other guys -- Mark McGwire should be in the Hall of Fame, Rafael Palmeiro, Juan Gonzalez, Sammy Sosa -- they're around the same timeframe that I am for being inducted. So those guys have to get in first before I should get in."

Canseco clearly has some regrets about his career as a best-selling author.

"It's a double-edged sword," he said.

"If it helped any kid, if it saved someone's life, that's great and I hope it did that. But yeah, I told the truth, I told my life story, and it cost me a lot, for sure." 0

Source: (c)2012 Tulsa World (Tulsa, Okla.)

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