In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com
Playing right field for the Texas Rangers at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, Jose Canseco loses sight of a ball hit by Carlos Martinez of the Cleveland Indians in the fourth inning, when it bounces off his head and over this fence for a home run. The homer shortens the Rangers lead to 3-1, and helps spur the Tribe on to a 7-6 win. The play would go viral, becoming one of baseball’s greatest bloopers.
Jose Canseco was one of the top sluggers of his era, twice leading the American League in home runs, and hitting 462 in his career. Making his debut with the Oakland Athletics at the end of the 1985 season, Canseco was a star right away, winning the Rookie of the Year in 1986. Two years later, with 40 stolen bases and 42 home runs, Jose Canseco became the first player in MLB history to have a 40-40 season, while winning the MVP as the Athletics won the American League Pennant. The Athletics would win the pennant three straight seasons, with Canseco leading the way, as the won the World Series in 1989. However, a falling out with Manager Tony La Russa led to him being traded to the Texas Rangers at the deadline in 1992 for Ruben Sierra, Bobby Witt, and Jeff Russell.
The acquisition of Jose Canseco was good for the Texas Rangers, as they had gotten off to a strong start, in his first full season in Arlington. He also helped provide a “boost” in the careers of Juan Gonzalez, Ivan Rodriguez, and Rafael Palmeiro giving them some “pointers” on how to get more power. The Rangers were in second place with a record of 24-20, one game behind the Chicago White Sox as they entered a Wednesday Night game against the Cleveland Indians at Municipal Stadium.
Manager Kevin Kennedy sent Kenny Rogers out to start for the Rangers, while Jose Mesa got the start for Mike Hargrove and the Indians. Texas jumped in front early, scoring three runs in the first on home runs by Julio Franco and Rafael Palmeiro. The Tribe scratched out a run in the third and had Carlos Martinez leading off the fourth inning. Martinez hit a deep fly ball that looked to be catchable, except Jose Canseco had the ball bounce off his head and over the fence for a home run. The Tribe would take the lead later in the inning on a two-run single by Felix Fermin. In the sixth, the Indians scored three more runs to take a 7-3 lead, as Fermin singled home Alvaro Espinosa while Carlos Baerga hit a triple and Albert Belle delivered a double. The Rangers would score in each of the final three innings, but could not get the tying running run home as Eric Plunk struck out Doug Dascenzo to end the game and earn the save as the Indians beat the Rangers 7-6.
Three days later, Jose Canseco was involved in another unusually moment as he came on to pitch in the ninth inning of a 15-1 loss to the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Canseco allowed three runs in one inning of work and came out with an elbow injury. Jose Canseco would end up missing the rest of the season after becoming the first position player to get Tommy John surgery, which caused him to miss the rest of the season. The Rangers would finish the 1993 season with a record of 86-76, good enough for second place.