Jose Canseco: From Independent League Baseball to NBC's The Apprentice

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Jose Canseco: From Independent League Baseball to NBC's The Apprentice
Joe Patronite/Getty Images
Jose Canseco, the 1988 AL MVP will appear on NBC's The Apprentice on Sunday.

For a time, Jose Canseco wasn't one of the best players in Major League Baseball, he was the best player in baseball.

Canseco became the first player in history to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a season. In the 1989 American League Playoffs against the Toronto Blue Jays, Canseco blasted a 484-foot home run into the fifh level of Toronto's Sky Dome, which to this day remains the dome's longest home run. 

Following his sudden and shocking departure from Oakland in the middle of the 1992 season, Canseco's personal life and a series of baseball bloopers began to turn his image from one of the greatest sluggers in the game, to one of the most misunderstood. 

Rumors of dating Madonna, bar fights, a fly ball bouncing off Canseco's head for a home run, and then an arm injury suffered during a relief pitching appearance that resulted in season ending Tommy John surgery—Jose Canseco's career was a roller coaster.

At the end of it all, Canseco played 17 seasons with seven different team and belted 462 home runs, drove in 1,407 runs, stole 200 bases, and batted .266. Canseco was named Rookie of the Year in 1986, AL MVP in 1988, Comeback Player of the Year in 1994, and won two World Series titles.

Then Canseco opened Pandora's box.

In 2005, Canseco admitted to using steroids after feeling black-balled by Major League Baseball, and released a best selling book naming players who he personally injected with steroids.

Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images
Canseco was the first member of the 40/40 club. Since then, 3 other players have joined the club.

The book caused a firestorm that to this day is being felt. Later this March, former San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds will go to trial on chargers of lying to a federal grand jury about steroid use.

Canseco even brought up Alex Rodriguez and the use of steroids almost a full year before Selena Gomez's Sports Illustrated story broke.

Big name after big name and sure fired Hall of Famers fell by the waistline, McGwire, Sosa, Palmiero, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Roger Clemens, all victims of the steroid era, some with personal ties to Canseco.

Canseco has been eaten up and spit out by every major sports news network in the country. Whether getting knocked out in a boxing match or getting evicted from his home, Canseco's off the field issues have been given more spot light than his allegations, which have never proven to be false, not once.

Yet, things have begun to turn around for Canseco.

In August 2010, Canseco signed a contract to play independent ball in Laredo, Texas. His signing became front page news, as the 46-year-old former MVP and World Series champ had gone from the highest level of professional baseball to the lowest, yet Canseco took everything in stride.

In his first at-bat, Canseco blasted a home run to deep left-center field and this time, the media responded in kind by covering Canseco's blast. In 11 games, Canseco hit 4 home runs with 13 RBI and hit .385.

Six months after returning to professional baseball, Canseco is back in the headlines, and it isn't steroid related. Instead, it's Canseco joining Donald Trumph on NBC's The Apprentice, which is set to air on Sunday, March 6.

Canseco will be playing for his charity, B.A.T., which stands for Baseball Assistance Team. Canseco's charity aims to assist minor league baseball players who don't receive pension, dental, or medical care.  

Is this a comeback for Canseco? Redemption?

To have gone from the highest of highs, to the lowest of lows with ushering in the steroid era, the evictions, and independent league baseball, Jose Canseco has been on an amazing ride since his playing days in the Majors were over. And Sunday, Jose Canseco is back in the spot light.

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