i am not ashamed to say that i was, and still am to a degree, a jose canseco fan. as any good card collector in 1986, i tried for as many of his rookie cards as i could, and i followed his home run and stolen base exploits with quite a bit of interest. you may recall that i had adopted the a's as my american league team with the arrival of rickey henderson and billy ball in 1980, quickly and shamelessly abandoning the excitement over the angels and don baylor that i had felt in 1979. so, i still had a soft spot for oakland in the mid-80's, and was glad to see canseco making them relevant again.
even as i joined the 'ste-roids' chant from the right field pavilion at dodger stadium during game 1 of the 1988 world series, i marveled at the grand slam canseco had hit in the first inning. it is still one of the top 3 hardest hit balls i have ever seen in person (willie mccovey and willie stargell hit the other two, with albert belle and carlos delgado not far behind). anyway, i was always willing to give canseco the benefit of the doubt even as there became no doubt. i was annoyed when the yankees claimed him on waivers in 2000 just to block another team from picking him up as i knew it would be difficult for canseco to sign on with another team in 2001. as luck would have it, the angels signed him just before spring training, but then released him in march (although topps still put out cards of him in 2001 in the angels' uni). i thought that that may have been it, but to his credit, canseco went to the independent league and played minor league ball until the white sox came calling at mid-season.
thanks to canseco's perseverance and the fact that frank thomas was lost for the season, we were treated to some non-yankee (and angel) final tributes in 2002. i've got a lot of them.
2002 fleer platinum
comc, and now recall that the graphs on the back of '87 fleer cards were different than those above. never mind.
2002 fleer tradition
no stats on the back, but a note that canseco became the first man to hit 400 home runs and steal 200 bases in a career
2002 upper deck vintage
perhaps my favorite two final tributes for mr. 40/40 came from topps. canseco, as he had done in 2001, signed a deal prior to 2002's spring training, this time with the expos. topps, as it had done in 2001, issued cards featuring canseco his his new uniform. never mind that he was released again during spring training, we get these final tributes from 2002 topps
canseco eventually returned to the white sox organization in 2002, appearing in 18 games for their triple-a affiliate and slugging 5 home runs, but didn't get back to the big leagues. he has since played in the minors in a few different seasons (2006, 2010-2013), and even had a short (one-day) stint in dodger camp prior to the 2004 season. it's too bad topps didn't put out a card that year like they did in '01 and '02...