THIS DAY IN BÉISBOL May 29: Jose Canseco’s ‘comic’ relief

By Robert Dominguez

It was a wild week for Jose Canseco, even by his standards.

On this day in béisbol, May 29, 1993, the controversial, muscle-bound slugger ended his season after just 60 games when he injured his right arm — pitching.

Canseco, then 28 and in his second year with the Rangers after a trade from Oakland, was the DH in a game against the Red Sox at Fenway Park that soon turned into a rout. 

In the bottom of the eighth, with the Rangers down 12-1 and not wanting to waste their bullpen, Canseco volunteered to pitch an inning in relief.

Make that comic relief.

Fans at Fenway got a lighthearted treat watching the big lug struggle to find the plate with a futile mix of “fastballs” and knucklers — he threw 33 pitches overall, just 12 for strikes.

Yet Canseco wasn’t all that bad despite forever owning a 27.00 ERA. He faced eight batters, giving up only two singles and walking three as Boston scored three runs before a smiling Canseco walked off the mound without doing too much damage.

Except to his arm.

The stunt led to season-ending surgery on his elbow, and the former Oakland A’s Bash Brother and 1989 MVP became a national punchline. The mound appearance came three days after a game in which Canseco, playing rightfield, lost a deep fly ball in the sun that conked him on the top of the head and bounced over the wall for a home run — and a forever funny baseball blooper.

Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”

Photo source:  Trevor — Under Creative Commons License