Major League Baseball may not want former Oakland Athletics slugger Jose Canseco around, but the independent leagues will welcome him back with open arms. The 52-year-old Canseco will take the field once again as a member of the Pittsburg Diamonds.
It’s the third straight season Canseco has signed with the team. The former 40-40 man will suit up for three games with the club, when they take on the Vallejo Admirals from June 23 to June 25. He’s expected to serve as the team’s designated hitter during the series. Canseco has pitched for the club in the past, but there’s no mention of him returning to the mound in the team’s press release.
The Diamonds are part of the Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs. Canseco is fairly familiar with the league. In 2015, he briefly played for the Sonoma Stompers before joining the Diamonds. He also signed with the Diamonds in 2016
Canseco’s numbers don’t show up on the league’s website since his stints have been fairly short each year. There is video of Canseco hitting a home run while with the Stompers in 2015, however.
The Diamonds’ Youtube page features a number of Canseco highlights from 2016, including one where Canseco is on the mound.
The whole thing is a publicity stunt, but that’s the point. Canseco still draws significant crowds in independent ball. If you’re going to see an independent team play, you might as well see if an aging MLB veteran still has it. And, c’mon, you’re at least a little intrigued to see Canseco pitch, right?
As great as it would be to see Canseco play for a full season at age-52, he’s got other things going on. Canseco has served as an analyst for A’s pre-game and post-game coverage for NBC Sports California this season.
As it stands, Canseco can probably continue to pull double-duty. As long as he works around his schedule as a broadcaster, Canseco can keep signing on for short stints with independent league teams until he’s ready to hang up his cleats.
That will either happen when he’s is in his 70s, or when Canseco starts hitting like a member of the media.
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