Jose Canseco Memories
This page is a place for Canseco fans to share their Canseco memories and experiences with each other. They are listed in the order I have received them (with mine at the top, of course), so the most current submissions are at the bottom. Some of these stories seem a little too amazing to be true, so I encourage you to read them for entertainment only. I have no idea how much of these really are factual. To contribute to this page, simply email me (Mark Petrillo) at [email protected] and I'll add your story as soon as I get a chance. One more thing - if you like what you read here, be sure to check out some of the older memories that I received in 1995 and 1996, 1997, and 1998 - The memories on this page were all submitted in 1999.

Why am I such a huge Jose Canseco fan?
It all started back in 1987 (I was 13 at the time) when I had just started seriously following baseball and collecting baseball cards. I put a quarter into a vending machine, and what card popped out? You guessed it - Jose Canseco. I wasn't too sure who he was at the time, but the lady behind the counter assured me he was good... He was Rookie of the Year in '86. Next thing I know, I start following baseball more closely, and I really liked this guy. He was an exciting player to watch. I'd rather see Jose Canseco go 1-4 with three strikeouts and a homer than watch Tony Gwynn hit two singles any day. Jose was also a controversial player who seemed to be a little cocky at times - I was at a Red Sox game once and when the fans started chanting "steroids," Jose turned to them and flexed his bicep... You can't get much cooler than that.

 Late in 1987, I wrote to a lot of baseball players (both retired and current) requesting autographs. Sure enough, Jose signed the index card I had sent him, and he has been my favorite player ever since. I started collecting Canseco cards and memorabilia, and the larger my collection got, the more I enjoyed collecting. Soon enough, I decided to only buy Canseco cards, and I now have over 1000 different Cansecos. By the way, if you think you have a Canseco card that I don't, email me - I'll be impressed.

The Bullseye in Comiskey
It was June 22, 1994 - the day before my 20th birthday. My friend Jake Barwell and I had driven from home (outside Philadelphia) all the way to Chicago, stopping to see games in Pittsburgh and Cincinnati on the way. We also picked up a few friends, and by the time we arrived at Comiskey, there were 5 of us (and four of us were going on about two hours of sleep). Before we left home, I spray painted a sheet (about 8' by 8') that I wanted to hold up in home run territory when Jose stepped to the plate. It was a giant bullseye with "JOSE" written above it. Jake and I held it up when Jose took batting practice but unfortunately he took less than ten pitches that day. I guess he felt pretty good - he had homered in Chicago the previous two nights.

In the top of the first, Jake and I headed out to the bleachers to hold up our sign, but the security guards wouldn't let us. Aggravated, we decided to run up to the very top of the upper deck, which ends at the foul pole. Technically, we would be in foul territory, but it was close enough. When we reached the upper level and started to head to our destination, we were stopped by security guards - the entire section was off limits. I attempted to explain what I wanted to do with my banner for ONE harmless minute, but the security guard wouldn't let us pass. Jose came to the plate, and there was no way I was quitting now. Jake and I hopped over the rope (that closed off the section) and ran all the way up the steps to the very top row of the upper deck. We held up the bullseye for a good 45 seconds or so until the security guard caught up to us, and threatened to kick us out of the park if we didn't come down. Not wanting to get the boot in the first inning, we left, but on the way down, I made sure I made the security guard feel really guilty, explaining how we had driven 900 miles for this one minute of glory, and he ruined it. When we got back to our seats, my friends told us they witnessed the whole encounter (from across the stadium), and my friend Erica had taken pictures with her telephoto lens!!! Click here to see us getting yelled at - I'm the guy on the right.

Jose's 300th Homer
On September 11, 1995, three friends and I drove to Baltimore because the Red Sox were in town. Our seats were in deep center field... at least 450 feet from home plate. I was looking through the zoom lens of my Dad's expensive camera when Mo Vaughn launched a ball. Right away, I knew it was headed for me. I jumped up, and with the camera clenched in my left hand, I dove over a row of seats for the ball. Just as I reached for it, a woman took it from under my hand, and I ended up with a handful of beer. At least you could almost recognize me on SportsCenter. Needless to say, things got better later in the game.

In the 8th inning, I took a seat above the Orioles dugout and started taking pictures of Jose when he came to the plate. I captured Jose's 300th career home run on film (See left)! I would have loved to have gotten that ball, and when the idiot who caught it threw it back, I knew I had a chance. I immediately got up and hiked over to chat with the ball girl who retrieved it. When I asked her what she had done with the ball, she asked my why I wanted it so badly. I explained that I was a really big fan, and that it was Jose's 300th career homer (They didn't even mention it on the scoreboard). She told me that as soon as she picked up the ball, the "head usher" and a Red Sox coach came out and took it from her. Oh well, I guess Jose wanted to keep that one... By the way, Jose's homer started a Red Sox rally, but the Orioles came back, and then in the top of the 9th inning, Jose watched strike three to end the game. If you ask me, that ball was outside...

The Day I Met Jose Canseco
This is taken straight from an email that I sent to the Email List on July 20th, 1998:

I just had one of the best weekends of my entire life, and I'm not quite sure where to start, so bear with me - I might be rambling for a while... Trust me, this story is worth reading!

A few weeks ago, I sent an email out to the list saying that I was going to Toronto this weekend for Saturday's game. That's when one of the subscribers to this list (Susan Ross of the Toronto Blue Jays Fan Club) responded. We exchanged a handful of emails, one thing led to another, and then one day last week I came home from work to find a message on my answering machine from John Starzynski, the President of the Jays Fan Club. John said that he had talked with someone from the Blue Jays in hopes that they could set up a meeting between me and Jose. Of course I was excited, but I refused to get my hopes up. John told me to expect a call from someone with the Jays later in the week.

When Friday arrived (the day I was heading to Toronto) and I still hadn't heard from anyone, I figured things weren't working out. No big deal. After all, what if I got to meet Jose and he ended up being a jerk or something? That would have been horrible. Well, sure enough, I got a call from Andy (he works for the Blue Jays) Friday morning at work. Andy told me that if I showed up for the aerobathon that the Lady Jays were hosting Saturday morning (it's a charity event), he'd take me ON THE FIELD for batting practice later that day. He said he couldn't guarantee that I'd get to meet Jose, but he'd make sure I got to talk with some of the Blue Jays. Needless to say, I was at the aerobathon bright and early (despite my lack of sleep).

I met John, and we talked for over an hour while my friend Caia did aerobics. John is a really great guy. We chatted all about the Fan Club, my site, Jose, etc. By the way, I strongly encourage you to sign up to be a member of the Blue Jays Fan Club - you can sign up here. After the aerobathon (of which I spent maybe 20 minutes actually exercising!), I got a shower and went out to lunch with some friends. Then I headed back to the Skydome, where I met Andy at 2:00.

Andy took me out onto the field for batting practice even before the gates opened to the public. I got my picture taken with Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, and Shannon Stewart. All three of them were very friendly. When I asked Delgado if he was going to go deep that day, he said "I'll try." He did in his first at bat!

So, I was on the field meeting Blue Jays, but Jose was no where to be seen. It turns out he was on the bike in the training room and was skipping Batting Practice that day. Figures. Just as BP was about to end, Andy told me that Jose said it would be ok if I went into the clubhouse so I could meet him. I couldn't believe it. Actually, I still can't believe it. Andy and I went through the dugout, back towards the locer room, and then into the training room. The room was completely empty of people, except for the man, Jose Canseco, who was doing some leg exercises. Andy introduced us, and I shook Jose's hand. It was actually funny - I wasn't nervous AT ALL with the other Jays, but suddenly I felt my heart rate go up a bit...

Jose and I talked for about 5 minutes. I told him about my site, about this list, etc. He asked me to write down the address for him (which I did even though I was having serious trouble doing it), and then (make sure you're sitting down) he asked for my phone number - he said maybe he'd give me a call sometime and we could put some "real photos" out there. I hope I wrote down the right number. Stupid nervousness. hehehe...

Andy took a photo of Jose and I together, and Jose signed a ball for me. I also asked him a couple of questions during our conversation, which went something like this:

MP: Do you get on the internet much?
JC: Not really. I bought a laptop a few months ago and I'm just getting into it.
MP: So, how's the back?
JC: It feels great (he emphasized the word "great").
MP: Do you think you've got a shot at 40-40 again?
JC: I hope so. I'm going to worry about 30-30 first. I need to steal a couple of bases today.
MP: No offense Jose, but you need to get ON base first.
JC: *laugh* Yeah, I know. My Dad keeps telling me the same thing. He says, 'Jose, you've got to get on base more.'
MP: You know, they really need to paint that seat that you hit during the '89 Playoffs.
JC: Heck, I want to hit *another* ball up there! (Jose actually hit the facing of the 5th deck with a ball the very next day)

Isn't that cool? I actually joked with JOSE CANSECO!!!

Oh, by the way, Jose was wearing a cut off t-shirt, so I told him my site was soon going to be He said "Canseconet???" with a surprised chuckle - I think he liked it. Oh, one more funny thing - at one point in the middle of our conversation I noticed Jose's HUGE biceps and said, "Jesus, these things are even bigger in real life." And I'm not kidding. That man is huge.

I shook Jose's hand again, and then left the training room. I was literally on some sort of high for about an hour. Those just may have been the best 5 minutes of my entire 24 year life. No kidding.

When Jose led off the beginning of the 4th inning, I was way up in the 5th deck in left field holding up my bullseye. Me, my friend Mark Proper, and Chris Creamer (from this list) could be clearly seen on CBC - the Toronto station that showed Saturday's game. The announcers even mentioned the bullseye and then proceeded to talk about the homer Jose hit up into that section back in 1989. I have it on tape, and if I can find someone with the ability to make it into a .avi file, I'll add it to my site someday.

Jose ended up going 0-4 (with an error) during Saturday's game, but he made up for it Sunday, hitting 2 homers - and one of them was a grand slam!

So, there you have it. I met Jose Canseco... and he was REALLY great. What a genuinely nice guy... I still can't believe I actually got to meet him.

Three games in Chicago - talking to Jose, being heckled, and getting on SportsCenter
This story was taken from an email that I sent to the Email List on June 18th, 1999:

As you know, I was in Chicago for all three of Jose's games this week, and I had a GREAT time! I have a lot to tell you about, and I'm not sure exactly where to begin, so let's just start at the beginning...

After fighting traffic for about an hour, I arrived at the park Monday night around 6:00. The Devil Rays were in the middle of Batting Practice, and I immediately spotted Jose - he was hitting balls into a net behind home plate. It was a GREAT photo opportunity, but stupid me left my camera 600 miles away. Ooops.

I headed out to the seats in left field in hopes of catching a Jose BP homer. Soon enough, he started launching balls, one after another. It was really cool to see everyone out there stand up, move back, and get ready every time he stepped into the cage. The ooohs and ahhhs were pretty cool too.

I didn't end up with any home run balls, but it was still fun to watch. The only player I MIGHT rather see take BP would be McGwire. After the Devil Rays finished hitting, I went and got something to eat and was walking casually around the stadium. I just so happened to glance down to the field, and what do I see? You're not gonna believe this, but Jose was signing autographs for the fans between the dugout and the screen behind home plate. I couldn't believe it, because most of the emails I get from people who've seen Jose at games say he doesn't sign during BP.

I headed down to the field, and leaned casually against the screen behind home plate. As you know, I met Jose last year, so I was wondering if he'd remember me. (If you don't know that story, it's at - right above where this story is going to go when I'm done typing it). I stood there patiently as Jose signed a LOT of autographs and even had his picture taken with a couple of people. Thinking Jose might not see me at all, I decided to get out my sign (it's probably 15 feet long) and toss it onto the field to get his attention. I did, but the sign was so big, all you could read was "Canse", give or take a letter.

When Jose was within 5 feet of me, I said "Hey Jose, do you remember me?" He looked up, and to my surprise recognized me immediately. He said "Yeah, how are you doing? I visit the site a lot." Needless to say, I was damn impressed he remembered me. I asked, "Do you like the site?" and he said "Yeah, it looks really good."

He continued to sign autographs while we talked. I told him he was having a great year and asked if he was going to hit one that night. He sort of nodded and mumbled "yeah." I was totally unprepared to get an autograph - I was just happy to be talking to Jose. But then I realized no one would believe I talked to him unless I got him to sign something (plus I really wanted to rub it in to my friend Mark Saylor who was late for the game), so I asked Jose if he would sign my sign. "Sure," he said. "Do you have a sharpie?" DAMN. I was totally unprepared. hahaha... I started asking around for a sharpie, and Jose said "Don't worry about it, I got it," and he grabbed a pen from someone, put the sign on the padding below the railing, and signed "Jose Canseco #33" between the 'a' and the 'n' in You gotta love that. I patted Jose on the shoulder, said "Thanks a lot buddy (don't ask me where the "buddy" came from - it just came out)... Have a good night tonight." And that was it.

If Jose went 0 for 12 with 10 strikeouts in Chicago, I still would have considered the trip a success. He didn't. Actually, he was FAR from it. Believe it or not, this story gets better...

So, I headed out to left field, where I told Mark (my friend from work) I'd meet him. Mark didn't show up for Jose's first at bat, and the my signs are too big for one person to hold, so I just had to sit there and watch as Jose ripped a single into left. The third baseman got a glove on the ball, but it was hit hard enough to get through.

1 for 1. Considering Jose was 0 for 5 when I saw him in Baltimore earlier this year, we were already off to a good start.

Mark showed up before Jose's next at bat, and so did Karen McBride, a member of this list. When Jose stepped up to the plate in the 3rd inning, we held up the Jose bullseye and my sign. We were booed a little, but I'm used to it. Being heckled is half the fun. Jose walked.

1 for 1, with a walk.

A few minutes after the walk, a guy named Blaise (another subscriber to this list) and his girlfriend Jill showed up. They had seen us holding up the sign, and decided to join us for the rest of the game.

Mark wasn't too big on the heckling, so Blase took his place for Jose's next at bat. The heckling was significantly worse... Some guy actually tried to pull the sign out of Blase's hand, but Blase would have none of that... the guy ended up standing in front of the sign and trying to block it, but when Jose HOMERED on the next pitch, he disappeared immediately. It was great! Justice was served... One of the Comisly security guards who came over in case there was an incident even said he was glad to see Jose go deep just to shut that guy up. I've never seen a homer like this one before. Jose was off balance and had a really weird swing - he literally hit the ball with only one hand on the bat, and it just carried and carried and carried...

2-2, homer, walk - already the best Canseco game I've seen in person.

I headed over to the left-center field bleachers in hopes of getting the ball. The seats were pretty full, and when people saw me in my Canseco Devil Rays shirt, they all started yelling at me. It was really pretty funny... It's amazing how much those Sox fans will HATE you if they think you're not rooting for their team. I found the kid (17 or 18 years old if I had to guess) who got the ball and got his attention from the aisle. I made the money sign with my fingers, and pointed to behind the bleacher seats. He and a bunch of his buddies met me up there. I asked if the ball was for sale, and he said "Yeah, 300 bucks." I laughed and told him "I'll give ya 20." He walked away.

I was prepared to go up to $100 or so, so I told one of his friends to tell him $50. He did, and the guy with the ball turned around and said "100 bucks." I told him to forget it and walked away. I figured he's realize the ball would be worth nothing as soon as he left the stadium, so I'd give him some time to think it over and head back later. When I went back later, he was firm about the $100. I finally agreed, and then wouldn't you know it, but the ball wasn't for sale anymore. Punk. I guarantee he regrets that decision already.

Jose singled in his next AB, and we were getting booed pretty badly. Blase shouted a few choice words back at one guy... It was really funny, but I try to keep these email rated G, so I won't quote him :) It's interesting when there are a good 100-200 people yelling at you, shouting "Jose sucks" and things like that. Jose singled.

3-3, homer, walk. Yeah, he sucks. Sure he does...

When the ninth inning started, the Devil Rays were losing pretty badly, and it didn't look like Jose would get another at bat. 3 guys would have to get on base, and seeing how Jose had 3 of the Rays 7 total hits for the night, it didn't look good. Well, wouldn't you know it, but Jose had another trip to the plate. We held up the signs with pride, receiving the most boos/heckling we'd had all night. And remember our friend who stood in front of the sign during Jose's first homer? Well, he was back, and he had a few of friends with him this time. And then it happened. With 2 men on, BOOM, Jose launched his second homer of the night! It was GREAT!!! I patted the sign-blocker on the back and said "Thanks for the luck - you can stand in front of this target anyday." He left without saying a word.

The ball was thrown back and handed to a little kid by a security guard. I didn't even try to get it.

4-4, 2 homers, 2 runs scored, 4 RBIs, and a walk. A perfect night. The Devil Rays lost, but really, who cares? Jose was now leading the league with 25 homers and batting a very impressive .311.

Tuesday was pretty uneventful compared to Monday. Mark and I showed up for BP and hung out in left field. Jose hit a bunch of balls into the seats, but we didn't get any.

There were a lot less people at the game Tuesday night, so we (Mark, Karen, and I) weren't heckled nearly as much as Monday night. We held up the signs during every at bat, but there were no significant incidents (don't worry, I haven't told you about Wednesday night yet). Jose ended up 0 for 4. That's ok, he was still 4-8 with 2 homers for the series, and I got to talk to him on Monday. No complaints from me!

The Rays won 3-2, by the way.

Another day of BP... Mark caught a homer, but it wasn't from Jose. We don't even know who hit it. I ALMOST had one - I thought it was coming right for me - but it just kept carrying over my head. Jose hit one past ALL the seats during BP on Wednesday... that was quite a shot. He also hit a guy who wasn't paying attention in the leg with a homer. I'll bet that's gonna leave a mark. hahaha...

Before the game, I got spotted a cameraman behind home plate. I chatted with him for a few minutes, and then mentioned the bullseye. He didn't have the angle for it from where he was, but I told him if he happened to talk to any of his other camera buddies to have them look for us. I didn't think anything would come of it, but I figured it couldn't hurt to ask, right? I was wrong. More on that later.

Karen, Mark and I held up the bullseye and the sign again. The crowd was a lot friendlier than they were on Monday night, but we still had our share of hecklers. Jose walked in his first trip to the plate, and then homered to lead off the fourth inning. It was a 408 foot blast to the seats in left-center. We were jumping up and down and yelling... it was great. 3 games, 3 homers. It couldn't get any better than this... or could it?

I headed over to the bleachers prepared to blow 100 bucks or more if I had to. I wanted that ball. I was disappointed to see a cute little girl holding the ball, probably 3 or 4 years old - I figured it wasn't for sale. I was right. It was actually pretty funny. No one booed me this time, so I went and sat down with the people who got the ball and chatted with them for a while. They were VERY nice people, and I'm glad they have the ball - they'll give it a good home, I'm sure. James McElherne is the name of the guy who actually caught it. He was a very nice guy, even though he wouldn't sell that baseball to Jose's #1 fan. Oh well :)

As I stood up to head back to my seat, I hear "Mark?" I look up and see a group of people looking at me. "Are you Mark Petrillo?" a woman asks. I said, "Ummm, yeah. That's me." It turns out these were more people from this email list - Jerry Wasik and his family. I sat down and chatted with them for a few minutes... All us Canseco fans are very nice people, let me tell you.

When we held up the signs during Jose's next at-bat, 3 punk kids stood in front of us trying to block it. They were really annoying and it started to piss me off. To top it off, they were taunting us from their seats down the third base line later in the game. I ignored them for a while, but then it got to me, so I headed over there. According to Mark, as soon as I left, one of the security guys near us got on his walkie-talkie and said there might be an incident where I was heading. Apparently they were watching me closely.

As I stormed over there expecting a lot of boos/heckling from everyone, to my surprise people were actually supportive of me. People were shouting things like "Kick their asses," and "Throw them over the fence!" I laughed and said "No, I don't want any trouble." When I got there, I asked the group of 6 or 7 high school punks what their problem was, but oddly enough they didn't have much to say. After a few minutes, they agreed to mind their own business during the game but warned me that if the target went up again, they were going to come over to stand in front of it. I said, "I'll be waiting," and walked away.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not some tough guy or anything, and the last thing I wanted was to get into a fight and get kicked out (or worse yet go to jail), but these punks deserved it. On my way back to my seat, I walked past a guy who said, "Don't worry buddy, I got your back." I assume he was a Canseco fan.

In the 10th inning of a tie ballgame, Jose stepped up to the plate. Up went the signs, and here came the punks. Before they made it though, security stepped in. The guard said, "Hey! Are those your seats over there?" and pointed to their seats. "Yeah," one of them said. "Well get back to them!" hahahaha....

Jose struck out with 3 HUGE swings, reminding me again why I'm such a big fan. Every eye in the place was on Jose, and he entertained us. He struk out, but he could have just as easily homered. There's no one in baseball I'd rather watch at the plate than Jose Canseco, and I'm sure you all agree with me.

The Devil Rays lost the game in the bottom of the 11th when Norm Charlton walked in the winning run.

When I got back to the hotel Wednesday night, I had a bunch of email from people who saw us on tv. I stayed up until 2 in the morning watching the sports shows, and I saw myself and the bullseye on ESPN and on CNN! The clips were only a couple of seconds each, but from all the email I received, I know we were on a LOT during the game. Apparently the game broadcasts showed us during almost all of Jose's at bats Wednesday night, and a bunch of local sports news recaps from across the country showed longer video clips, including shots of the sign. If anyone out there happens to have a tape of the game (6/16/99), please let me know. I'd love to see it! Thanks...

Before this week, I had seen Jose homer in person 3 times. I've now seen 6 :)

Well, that's my story. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. After going 5 for 12 with 3 homers during the games I was at, Jose is now leading the majors with 26 homers (in only 61 games), and he's batting a very impressive .305.

I'm not certain yet, but I'm 90% sure I'm going to be heading to Tampa the weekend of July 23 to see a few games against the Rangers. If anyone would like to join me for a few games (and probably get on tv), let me know.

I'll send you this week's news in a seperate email in the next day or so... One article even mentions the target!

Canseco Memories From Around The Net

Back to