The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Kevin Wilson
Managing editor 

Jose Canseco's head, I salute you

 


I know many of us are using this weekend to honor those we lost in Memorial Day. Others are using the time just to enjoy family and friends, and maybe an air show. However you choose to spend your time, spend it well.

I plan to do these things, plus mark the silver anniversary of the day Carlos Martinez hit the ball to the deepest part of Cleveland Stadium — Jose Canseco’s head.

Yes, 25 years ago on Saturday new Texas Rangers outfielder Jose Canseco made highlight reel history when he lost track of a deep fly ball, only to have the ball bounce off his noggin and over the fence.

I had pretty recently become a Rangers fan. I enjoyed watching Nolan Ryan pitch, and still wasn’t smart enough to know as a baseball fan you couldn’t win just waiting for the three-run homer. So I was excited when Canseco was traded there late in the 1992 season — home runs meant wins in my mind.

Canseco did deliver home runs. It’s just that one day, he delivered them on defense. That was the day I and thousands of others learned just how deep the definition of home run went. According to mlb.com:

“In almost every instance of a home run, a batter hits the ball in the air over the outfield fence in fair territory. In that situation, the batter is awarded all four bases, and any runners on base score as well. The batter can circle the bases at his leisure, as there is no threat of him being thrown out. (This also occurs when the ball hits the foul pole in left or right field, or when the ball hits an opposing defender on the fly and bounces directly over the wall in fair ground.)”

Just four days later, the Canseco experience unraveled a little more. In a blowout loss to the Boston Red Sox, Canseco came on to pitch. Six weeks later, he had season-ending elbow surgery after he’d complained of arm and back problems.

Canseco played just 60 games that season. He came back in 1994 and started hitting like the Canseco of old — 31 homers and 90 RBIs — and had the Rangers in first place in the American League West. But then the players went on strike, the Rangers lost their slim chance at the World Series and no division title was awarded.

Jose Canseco and the Rangers just never worked out. But it did give me the most valuable lesson a baseball fan can learn: Baseball’s not a fair game; deal with it.

However, I can also tell you we’re 10 Saturdays from the 25th anniversary of one of the greatest Texas Rangers days ever — Aug. 4, 1993, if you care to Google it.

Better believe I’m celebrating that one.

Kevin Wilson is managing editor of The Eastern New Mexico News. Contact him at: [email protected]

 

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