When I was really young, Jose Canseco made up one half of the Bash Brothers, and led the Oakland Athletics to a World Series title in 1989. Over a six year period, Canseco slugged over 200 home runs, won the Rookie of the Year award, and was named an MVP along the way. He and Mark McGwire were superstars.
Then, suddenly Canseco became a really ordinary as a ballplayer, but it took a while before the legend of Canseco wore off. The A's traded him to the Texas Rangers for 3 players and cash. That was worth every bit of happiness that was brought by the fly ball that bounced off Canseco's head for a home run. It is a grainy video, but you can clearly see the ball bounce off Canseco's noggin.
After parts of three ordinary years in Texas where he played in just 193 games, the Red Sox signed Canseco to a 2 year deal. He hit 24 homers and had his last season hitting above .300, but he went hitless in 15 at bats during the 1995 ALDS. It almost seemed like the end of was near when the Red Sox traded Canseco to the Athletics in 1996 for John Wasdin in return.
Canseco wasn't done yet. He signed with the Toronto Blue Jays in 1998, reunited with old friend Roger Clemens. Though the team finished third, Canseco had a big comeback year with 46 home runs. It paired well with Roger Clemens's 20 win season, after all of the steroidal scandals that popped up for that ambitious duo.
Canseco had another All Star year in 1999, but was out of baseball after the 2001 season. Thank goodness for YouTube, so we can relive Canseco's blunder forever.
The Red Sox have come a long way since loading up a team with has-been ordinary ballplayers like Jose Canseco. Sure, there's lots of risk in saying that after they signed Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval...but it's not like they're the team that is about to unload Josh Hamilton for virtually nothing. It seems the days of overpaying for a player's past are a thing of the past.
It's unclear if the Toronto Blue Jays have given up this same tendency. 32 year old Russell Martin signed a 5 year deal with the Blue Jays, but that might be the worst of their long term plans. Since winning back to back World Series, the team has basically floated adrift between 3rd and 4th place, occasionally peaking at 2nd or last place. They're the definition of an ordinary humdrum ball club. Maybe that'll change in 2015? 3/5ths of their rotation is under 25 years old, so there's definitely hope.
The hope here is that the Blue Jays don't find their way for at least three more games.