Let’s not kid ourselves about Jose Canseco. At times he was a man that cared more about his physical appearance than his batting average. By 1991 Jose had already graced the cover of GQ Magazine and had modeled for professional photo shoots. When Donruss Studio made its debut that very same year Jose was just 3 years removed from one of the greatest seasons on paper (1988 – “40-40”) and was starting a year in which he would lead the majors in home runs (44).
Have a look at Jose’s 1991 Donruss Studio card for a moment. Take it in. Do you smell that? It’s called confidence. Jose reeked of confidence the day of that photoshoot. He didn’t think, he knew that he was the best player in baseball. He knew every single kid would hope to pull out his card from a stack of names that today grace the Hall of Fame, like Cal Ripken Jr, Nolan Ryan, and Rickey Henderson. For Jose, the future meant nothing because he lived for today; 1991.
Let’s just say that Jose’s best days would come to an end the very next year when after having a mediocre season he was dealt away to the Texas Rangers. From there it would be the Boston Red Sox, then the Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, Yankees, White Sox, Angels, Expos, minor leagues, and finally VH1’s The Surreal Life. Jose’s fame came to an abrupt end on the day he asked to be put in as a relief pitcher for the Rangers. If that didn’t do it, a baseball off the top of his head for a home run drained every last bit of “cool” Jose once owned.
Take a look at Jose’s 1997 Donruss Studio card. It is that of a man who did not even bother to shave, let alone comb his hair that day. He walked into that studio, probably the same one from 1991 when he was the King of Basball and sat down on the throne that now belonged to sluggers like Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, and Ken Griffey Jr. The same photographers that were once swooning to see the big superstar, this time around probably just gave him the cold shoulder and hurried him along to get the next big superstar that needed to be photographed.
Such is the life of a burning star.