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Jose Canseco is best known for his record-breaking Major League Baseball career.
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Cuban-born Jose Canseco immigrated with his family to the United States as a child in 1965. He made his name as one of Major League Baseball's star hitters with the Oakland Athletics in the mid- to late 1980s. After retiring from baseball in 2001, Canseco re-entered the spotlight with a tell-all book revealing his longtime steroid use, and that of other star baseball players.
"I wanted to be the best baseball player in the world. That was my goal, my only goal, really, and I never let things stand in the way of my goals. So in that sense, no, I'm not ashamed of it. I cared so much about winning, and about making the game more exciting for the fans, that I did what I had to do."
Famed baseball player Jose Canseco was born on July 2, 1964, in Havana, Cuba. He and his twin brother Ozzie, also a baseball player, were the only children of Jose Sr. and Barbara Canseco. Canseco's father had been a successful a territory manager for Esso Standard Oil and a part-time English teacher during Cuba's Batista years, but he fell upon hard times when Fidel Castro's communist government came to power in 1959. Canseco Sr. soon lost his job and his home; in 1965, when the Castro government offered to airlift citizens who opposed the regime to Miami, Florida, the Canseco family jumped at the opportunity. Barely one year old at the time, Canseco and his family boarded a small propeller plane to begin a new life in the United States. "We had nothing," Canseco's father recalled.
Capitalizing on his English skills and previous experience as a manager for an oil company, Canseco's driven father soon landed jobs as a territory manager for Amoco Oil and a part-time security guard, allowing him to provide a comfortable American life for his family. Canseco Sr. was also an avid baseball fan, and he soon set out to teach his sons to play the game he loved. However, much to his father's chagrin, as a boy Canseco was an average baseball player. "You're going to grow up and work at Burger King or McDonald's," the slugger later recalled his father screaming at him when he failed to excel on the baseball diamond. "You'll never add up to anything."
Canseco attended Coral Park High School in Miami, where he continued to struggle with baseball. Although he occasionally showed flashes of a remarkable natural talent at the plate, Canseco was painfully inconsistent, failing to make the varsity squad through the first three of his four years in high school. After being named the MVP of the junior varsity team during his junior year, Canseco finally made the Coral Park varsity squad as a senior. Finally he enjoyed a true breakout season, displaying fearsome power at the plate, and was again named team MVP.
In 1982, after graduating from high school, Canseco was drafted by the Oakland Athletics in the 15th round of baseball's amateur draft. The A's sent him to play for their Premier League team in Idaho Falls, Idaho, where Canseco earned $600 a month on his first minor-league contract. "Seven or eight of us all lived together in a place that was almost condemned; it was such a dump," Canseco later remembered. "It had no heater, no nothing, and if you wanted to use the bathroom, you would have to wait until you went to the ballpark."
While he was struggling adjusting to life in the minors, Canseco's body began to undergo a remarkable change.
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For some athletes, the risk of losing—or even being less than the best—is worse than the many consequences of doping in professional sports, and for decades, performance-enhancing drug controversies have made headlines around the world. Other athletes have garnered media attention, criminal charges and sporting suspensions for their recreational drug use. Biography.com examines some of the world's greatest athletes to ever fall from fame, whose names have been tarnished by drugs scandals, including Barry Bonds, Jose Canseco, Marion Jones, Andre Agassi, Floyd Landis and Lance Armstrong.
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