•How killer bats
once circled over his head in the outfield.
•How Esther cooks
•How Esther looks
•Why the A's
wives do lousy cheerleader impressions.
Jose Canseco has
a two-block walk back to his hotel from the stadium in Cleveland, and that's
enough time for the autograph pests to spot him and begin pursuit. Engulfed,
Canseco tries to sign as he walks, but they block his path. He keeps signing,
pressing ahead, squeezing through, taking pens in the back of the head. A
teenager holds a bat in front of him and pleads, "Please, Mr. Canseco! I've
got every player on the A's except you, and you're my favorite!" Without
stopping, Canseco signs the bat. The boy falls to his knees, then to his back,
and lets out a yelp from the basement of his soul: "AAAAAAAARRRRGGGGH!"
As he kisses the bat, the pack tramples over him.
Jose Canseco was
soon to make his entry into the world on that day in 1964 when Barbara Canseco
received a blood transfusion; the new blood infected her with hepatitis, and
the medicine she took for the hepatitis apparently exacerbated a latent case of
diabetes. In the years to follow, she was often sick from both diseases. In
1984 a blood clot that had lodged in her back suddenly made its way to her
head. She was admitted into Miami's Cancer Research Center on a Friday, but her
headaches worsened on Saturday and Sunday.
over and over to the doctors and nurses about her terrible headaches," says
Teresa, "but they couldn't do anything for them."
Barbara Canseco died of a brain hemorrhage. Teresa called the boys—Jose in
Modesto, Calif., and Ozzie in Greensboro, N.C.—and told them a lie. "Come
home, Mom is very sick."
arrived, the boys, only 19, were devastated by the tragedy. Neither returned to
their teams for a month. "It was like a jolt to me," Jose says. Angry,
he began working doubly hard on the weights. He gained weight and strength and
resolve. "I think Jose just decided he wasn't going to take anything for
granted anymore," says Ozzie. "I think he made his mind up right then
and there to say, Nothing's going to stop me now."
But you cannot
arm-wrestle a baseball. The new attitude only weakened his game. Every swing
was bound for fences only Canseco could see.