mother's death taught him a different lesson. "I put everything into
perspective," he says. "I thought, Why am I taking baseball so
seriously? And I decided to just give it my best shot. No more fooling around.
And if I didn't make it, I'd get on with my life. I don't take anything too
seriously now." Says his best friend on the A's, shortstop Walt Weiss:
"Jose is the same guy, totally carefree, after every game. You can't tell
if he's got four K's or four home runs."
misses his mother. "I think of her every day," he says. "I wish she
was here all the time. Just to come watch the games."
Every week during
the off-season, without fail, Esther and Jose go to the cemetery in Miami and
place his mother's favorite flowers on her grave: red roses.
wears a mantle of irresponsibility. Before the fifth game of the '88 World
Series with the Dodgers, in the middle of an awful slump, he told reporters he
didn't want to be expected to carry the team. When the A's lost that Series,
Canseco went home to Miami to find himself nose to nose with sour-faced
friends. "Hey, Jose, I lost a lot of money on you," they said. Or,
"Hey, Jose, I lost my house on you."
Canseco deeply. If there is one thing he cannot stand, it's expectations.
"What am I, some kind of machine?" he says. "I'm not a machine who
will hit four home runs and steal two bases a game. I'm a person."
Must the whole
world be just like his father?
Jose Canseco, on
the whole, goes on with his life more happily than you would ever believe. He
has friends, money, love, strength and a very long home run swing. He is young,
handsome, funny and cares almost nothing about what you or I think about him.
He does not want to be your robot, hero, villain, role model, autograph,
criminal, bank account, scientific experiment or savior.
human," he says. "If you cut me, I'll bleed."
Who says the monster never wins?