I was surfing the net during lunch hour today and came across JoseCanseco.com, a self-promoting pile of interwebal garbage. You can even win a day with Canseco!
Remember when this guy was a sure Hall of Famer, a member of the Bash Brothers and the A's mini dynasty at the end of the eighties? The guy ended his career with 462 homers. Granted, those were juiced homers, but we'll never know how many he would have hit without the stuff. He hit 91 in his first four seasons when he was still a scrawny dude, so who knows? Just another of the many what-could-have-beens.
I was in sixth grade when the A's went to the series in '88. All of the boys in my class were wearing A's caps at the time, and, well, I wanted one, too, so my mom found a mesh one for me. Back then, wearing baseball caps to school was ok, because baseball caps stood for baseball teams and not gangs.
I remember the '88 Series quite well, which is strange, because I don't remember the '87 Series at all. I guess my twelve year old brain had finally developed some capacity for memory by then. I remember Dave Stewart, Dennis Eckersley, and Terry Steinbach as much as I remember Canseco and McGwire. What a team.
Of course, the '89 Series was even more memorable because of the earthquake. Strange coincidence (fate?) how the two Bay teams were playing in that Series. My mother was having a Tupperware or Home Interiors party or one of those types of things and I was in my bedroom, where I had been permitted to have the television so I could watch the game. I remember Al Michaels talking about the Series when suddenly someone said "Oh my god" and then Michaels said something like "I'm telling you, we're having an..." before we lost the feed. When it came back (I think they played some television show before it did) and I found out what had happened, I remember feeling something like I was watching the Apocalypse. Al Michaels was awesome - I think he won an Emmy or something like that for his account of what he saw at Candlestick. (It's a shame he doesn't do baseball anymore.)
It was a traumatic experience for a kid who'd never before witnessed the horrors that the real world had to offer. I cut out every article from the Dayton Daily News about the quake for weeks and pasted it into a yellow notebook, which I still have today. Then again, these were pre-themediaisinsane days and live coverage of disasters was not something that happened everyday, which helped viewers feel the magnitude of the catastrophe. Today it kind of feels like we're immune to such things.
I stopped liking the A's in 1990 when, of course, the Reds swept them in the World Series. I still like them a bit, but it's funny how they went from being THE team in baseball to a moneyball small market team.
Baseball sure has changed. Then again, so has America.