Last updated on: 12/29/2008 | Author:

Jose Canseco Biography

Former Major League Baseball (MLB) Player
Con to the question "Should Performance-Enhancing Drugs Be Accepted in Sports?"

“I do not condone or encourage the use of any particular drugs, medicine, or illegal substances in any aspect of life…

The pressure associated with winning games, pleasing fans, and getting the big contract, led me, and others, to engage in behavior that would produce immediate results. This is the same pressure that leads the youth of today, other athletes and professionals, to engage in that same behavior. The time has come to address this issue and set the record straight about what risks are involved in that behavior. To send a message to America, especially the youth that these actions, while attractive at first, may tarnish and harm you later. That sometimes there are things more important than simply money.

Why did I take steroids? The answer is simple. Because, myself and others had no choice if we wanted to continue playing. Because MLB did nothing to take it out of the sport. As a result, no one truly knew who was on muscle enhancing drugs. As a result, a player who wanted to continue to play, to perform as a star, was forced to put into their bodies whatever they could just to compete at the same level as those around them…

Baseball owners and the players union have been very much aware of the undeniable fact that as a nation we will do anything to win. They turned a blind eye to the clear evidence of steroid use in baseball. Why? Because it sold tickets and resurrected a game that had recently suffered a black eye from a player strike. The result was an intentional act by baseball to promote, condone and encourage the players to do whatever they had to do to win games, bring back the fans, and answer the bottom line…

As I sit here today I would be remiss if I did not again stress that I do not condone the use of any drugs or illegal substances…I hope that my message will be received as it is intended, that we, as professional athletes, are no better than anyone else. We just have a special ability that permits us to play ball. We should not be held up to any higher standard of behavior than any other mother or father.”

Written Statement for the hearing on “Restoring Faith in America’s Pastime: Evaluating Major League Baseball’s Efforts to Eradicate Steroid Use,” before the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform, Mar. 17, 2005

[Editor’s Note: Prior to the Con statement above made on Mar. 17, 2005, Jose Canseco’s position was Pro acceptance of performance enhancing drugs as indicated in the statement below.]

“In no way, shape, or form, do I endorse the use of steroids without proper medical advice and thorough expert supervision… I’m especially critical of anyone who starts playing around with steroids too early… If you want to turn yourself into a nearly superhuman athlete, the way I did, you need to wait until you have matured into adulthood. That way your body can handle it…

I have no doubt whatsoever that intelligent, informed use of steroids, combined with human growth hormone, will one day be so accepted that everybody will be doing it. Steroid use will be more common than Botox is now…

As a result, baseball and other sports will be more exciting and entertaining…

Have I used steroids? You bet I did. Did steroids make me a better baseball player? Of course they did. If I had it all to do over again, would I live a steroid-enriched life? Yes, I would.”

Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, Feb. 15, 2008

Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Major League Baseball Player, Right Field, 1985-2001, Oakland Athletics, 1985-1992, Texas Rangers, 1992-1994, Boston Red Sox, 1995-1996, Oakland Athletics, 1997, Toronto Blue Jays, 1998, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 1999, New York Yankees, 2000, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, 2001, Chicago White Sox, 2001
  • Featured in the A&E Television Networks (AETN) documentary Jose Canseco: The Last Shot, aired on Oct. 20, 2008, Oct. 21, 2008, and Oct. 26, 2008
  • Independent League baseball player, 2006
  • Testified before the US House of Representatives Committee on Government Reform for the hearing on “Restoring Faith in America’s Pastime: Evaluating Major League Baseball’s Efforts to Eradicate Steroid Use,” Mar. 17, 2005
  • Published the 2005 book on his steroid use Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ‘Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big that also claimed baseball players Mark McGwire, Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, and Jason Giambi used steroids
  • Major League HR (home run) Champion, 1988, 1991
  • American League’s Most Valuable Player, 1988
  • First 40-40 player (40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season), 1988
  • RBI (runs batted in) Champion, 1988
  • First player to hit a grand slam in his 1st World Series at bat, 1988
  • American League Rookie of the Year, 1986
  • Baseball America Minor League Player of the Year, 1985
  • Attended Coral Park Senior High School, Miami, FL
  • Sentenced to 12 months of unsupervised probation on Nov. 4, 2008 for attempting to bring the drug human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG) across the border from Mexico into the US. Canseco said that he did not know the drug was illegal without a prescription in the US and that the drug was to treat his diminished libido.
  • Provided an affidavit regarding Roger Clemens’ disputed attendance at a 1998 house party of Canseco’s in Florida for the hearing on “The Mitchell Report: The Illegal Use of Steroids in Major League Baseball, Day 2,” before the US House of Representatives Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, Feb. 13, 2008
  • Known as “Bash Brothers” with Mark McGwire, former Major League Baseball Player, Oakland Athletics
  • Twin brother of Ozzie Canseco, former Major League Baseball Player
  • Born on July 2, 1964 in Havana, Cuba