Published February 22, 2005
This is a partial transcript from "Hannity & Colmes," Feb. 22, 2005, that has been edited for clarity.
SEAN HANNITY, HOST: Jose Canseco, thanks for being with us.
JOSE CANSECO, FORMER MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL PLAYER: Great being here.
HANNITY: You say about steroids — you said they are the future? By the time your daughter is — has graduated from high school, a majority of all professional athletes in all sports will be taking steroids. And believe it or not, that's good news.
CANSECO: Well, it depends a lot on if steroids are going to be decategorized. How far is gene doping going to be enhanced?
There's also an issue that I just found out two or three weeks ago, meaning this gene doping issue, in the sense of steroids may become obsolete. They may become old news in three to four years. You may be able to go anywhere, to any area doctor and change — or swap genes with other individuals. Who knows?
HANNITY: You say you were known as the godfather of steroids. You brag in the book how you introduced steroids, brought it into the big leagues.
You asked your own question, do you regret or have any qualms of relying on chemicals to help you hit the ball so far? You said to be honest, no, you don't. None at all.
CANSECO: No, I don't have any qualms. Because from the very beginning, I think I had so many obstacles put upon me. I mean, from the high school level. Obviously, I was 5'10", 150 pounds. I had already developed inherited back problems. I had degenerative disk disease, a form of scoliosis, arthritis.
And I truly believe that if it weren't for the use of steroids — I'm not saying steroids is for everyone, but in my case in general, if I have not used steroids, I mean, physically right now I'd probably be a wreck.
HANNITY: You say the challenge is not to find the player who has used steroids. You said the challenge is to find the top player who has not used steroids. Now, in 2003, Major League Baseball tested every player, and they only found that about 7 percent were using it.
CANSECO: Well, the challenge would be is to find in the last five or 10 years out of all the MVPs which one did not use steroids, which you'll find that probably eight out of 10, if not 10 out of 10 of those athletes actually used steroids.
Now, the testing that Major League Baseball instituted in the game was a complete farce. It was completely controlled. Some athletes were even being tested three or four or five times to make it look like they were testing, you know, 200 or 300 at a time.
HANNITY: Right. I guess the question now becomes — is when we look at Mickey Mantle and Babe Ruth and Henry Aaron, and we look at the record books, these guys all have records. How do you compare a guy that never used any chemical enhancements of any kind that hit 755 home runs, 714 home runs?
How do you compare that with a player who did? And you even talk about you wouldn't be as great a player. How do you compare those records? Doesn't this make all records obsolete now?
CANSECO: It's difficult to tell, because each individual is disposed to a different genetic structure at birth. So one steroid may help another individual one way and help another individual the other way. It's impossible to tell.
These individuals on steroids, does it enhance their career, does it give them a little more strength, a little more stamina, a little more psychological edge? Absolutely. How do you determine what — what their stats would be without steroids? It's impossible to tell. There's really no known marker. There's no — there's nothing set up to actually ...
HANNITY: You describe in the book, though, you would not be anywhere near the player you were if it weren't for steroids. You talk about Mark McGwire. Well, Mark McGwire, sure, he had a great natural swing. I think you described it as the best swing, natural swing, you've ever seen.
HANNITY: But yet, you say without steroids, he wouldn't have been the player he became. So you admit in the book that it is a huge advantage. So how do you compare the records of those that didn't use those — those chemicals, those steroids, with those who did? You can't — it makes all these records obsolete.
CANSECO: I understand that, but how do you develop a rating system to say, OK, this individual on steroids is hitting 60 home runs a year, what do you do? Do you develop some kind of system to say, OK, we're going to take away 20 or 30 percent of his home runs per year? It's impossible to judge.
HANNITY: Mike Greenwell — now, in 19 — was it, '88 you were the most valuable player.
HANNITY: Mike Greenwell played for Boston at the same time. He was the runner-up. Mike Greenwell is now on record saying that he thinks he deserves the MVP. Does he?
CANSECO: I don't know. It's not for me to judge. It's for the writers to judge, it's for the public to judge. It's impossible to tell.
HANNITY: Would you be willing to give up that record?
CANSECO: Well, absolutely. The record means nothing to me.
HANNITY: Doesn't mean anything to you?
CANSECO: No, because so many things have happened in Major League Baseball. It's like a love affair gone stale. It's gone very bad.
HANNITY: With baseball?
CANSECO: With baseball in general, yes.
HANNITY: Why is that?
CANSECO: Owners, the way they blackballed me from baseball, the way they used me, in a sense, and then the way they wanted to send a signal to the other players, saying, you know, we're going to get Jose Canseco out of the game. This is a cue or a message for you other guys to stop using steroids because the owners lost total control of the steroid use.
I mean, from the very beginning, they were just turning their heads and saying, you know, go ahead. You guys go ahead. The game is great. The players are making a lot of money. The owners are making a lot of money. The media is writing stories and making a whole lot of money on this. The fans love the home runs, the home run competition between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa.
I mean, baseball was great again. It was — it was at the top because ...
HANNITY: Because of steroid use?
HANNITY: As we continue on "Hannity & Colmes," I'm Sean Hannity. We continue now with my exclusive interview with the author of the new book, "Juiced." Baseball great Jose Canseco.
A lot of people have questioned your motives. Why you say in these things — and some have said, including Tony LaRussa, your old coach, that you're doing this for a financial motive. Is that — are you hurting financially in any way?
CANSECO: Absolutely not. If I were worth $1 or $1 billion, this book would still be written. The reason is for 17 years I've taken a beating in the media. For 17 years, the media has made me the black knight, the scapegoat.
For 17 years, the media has portrayed me as a wife beater, an aggressive, loud individual who does nothing but go to nightclubs and beat people up. And ...
HANNITY: Some people, though, in the media — but you know something? I'm just an — sort of an objective observer. I mean, you were still Jose Canseco. You were one of the biggest, most talented guys in baseball. I mean, and especially when you brought up the race issue quite a bit in the book, I was surprised. But when you talk about the media, you even by your own admission, you say you didn't embrace the media. You didn't handle them well.
Nobody — nobody brought you along with the media in a sense.
CANSECO: Well, in a sense when I first started, I was very shy and very quiet. And I think the media, because my communication skills weren't as advanced as they are now, the media saw it or portrayed it as arrogance. And that was furthest from the truth. I was a very insecure player. I mean, I respected every player out there. I was in awe of all these players.
CANSECO: But the media took it upon themselves to portray me in a very poor light.
HANNITY: I don't want you to misunderstand this question, but I just want to get to the heart of some things. I was stunned to see — you have a Web site, and one of the things you were selling on your Web site was your championship ring. For $40,000, 22 major diamonds, 34.5 grams of gold. You were selling autographed jerseys for $750, you know, copies of the book and some other things. You had sold your American League rookie of the year ring for $5,100.
So I guess people can read that and understand why they might say, maybe Jose Canseco has some financial problems. Do you have any — you don't have any?
CANSECO: Absolutely not. If you look at it in this perspective, obviously, this book is the No. 1 bestseller in the country. Obviously, this book is going to make me millions and millions and millions of dollars. I'm still selling this stuff. It won't stop.
What it is, is a relationship gone bad. Like for example, you're married to an individual for 17 years. Now all of a sudden, it's over. You don't want to keep pictures of this individual around. You don't want to keep clothing. You want to sever completely, just clean.
And that's what I'm doing from Major League Baseball.
HANNITY: You want no — you want no part of the game that made you a multi-millionaire, that bought you all the cars that you talk about in there, that brought you fame, fortune, girlfriends, gorgeous women in your life? You were living the life of luxury, and now you have that much resentment towards this game?
CANSECO: The love affair's over. Yes, it is.
HANNITY: That's amazing to me. But so in that sense, you've sold your rookie of the year ring, and now you're going to sell your championship ring.
CANSECO: Everything's up for sale. Anything associated with Major League Baseball is going to be gone.
HANNITY: All right, so just one other question about finances, because there was one report that you owed back taxes.
HANNITY: And your representative said that's not true.
CANSECO: Absolutely not. These things have been paid. What happened was one of my CPAs had a divorce and did not pay attention to my account. If people would do a proper investigation, they will find out these allegations are completely false.
HANNITY: Let's talk about people in the game. They don't have the greatest things to say about you now. Your former coach, Tony LaRussa, said you are a liar in dire straits, you need money. And you just answered that part of the question.
Jason Giambi said that you're delusional. Mark McGwire denies the allegation that you made that you injected him with steroids on a number of occasions, which you make in the book. You also included Mr. Rodriguez, Palmero, Gonzalez. They all deny anything to do with steroids.
Are you saying that all of these former players of yours, friends of yours, colleagues of yours, that they're all lying about you?
CANSECO: Absolutely. Eventually, it will all come out. In a matter of a month or so, the whole world will know that I'm telling the absolute truth.
And what would you do? I would negate it, also. I would say, you know what? It's his word against mine. I'm going to say no, I never touched steroids. I never did any form of enhancement drug. I would do the same thing if I were in their shoes.
But — but in a matter of time, a short period of time, the whole world will know the truth.
HANNITY: Well, expand on that a little bit. That's intriguing.
CANSECO: You're going to have to wait on that.
HANNITY: You have evidence that you will be bringing forward within a month that will prove everything you were saying is true in the book?
HANNITY: And that all of these guys that I just mentioned are lying about you?
HANNITY: All right. There was — when you did your "60 Minutes" interview with Mike Wallace ...
HANNITY: ... The — you were quoted in the book talking about how you would inject yourselves. And Mark McGwire, particularly, you guys would inject each other. And you said, "I would often inject Mark." And then you said at one point, "I injected him, probably, twice." That seemed inconsistent with what you had originally said in the book.
CANSECO: Well, it was so common ground. Everything was so common that we never really kept a chart of it. It wasn't anything that was a big deal. I mean, whatever pills, whatever injections ...
HANNITY: You say, "I injected often" and then you say only once or twice. There's a pretty wide disparity there, though.
CANSECO: Well, once, twice, what's the difference? Even once is enough.
HANNITY: No, I know, but if you did it often, that's a lot different than once or twice.
CANSECO: Well, I think maybe people misread it, saying often meaning I would do it often, McGwire would do it often. I would inject him a couple times, and he would inject himself. So often is — is a big realm.
HANNITY: Did you at any point ever think of the consequences, the impact this book, these statements would have on the lives of people that I assume you used to consider to be your friends? Did you think of the impact it would have on Mark McGwire's record? Did you think of the impact it would have on Jason Giambi's reputation? Or the reputation of many of the other players?
Does that — did that consideration come into your mind at all?
CANSECO: I thought about it, but the reality is that I needed to explain to the whole world who I really am and what really happened and why I was completely blackballed and ousted from the game of baseball.
And these individuals — it's just the story of my life. These individuals happened to be a part of my life. It was nothing personal towards them. It wasn't that I picked up one individual and attacked him. As a matter of fact, if you look at the players I've actually chosen, I mean, some are white, some are Latin or whatever. So there's a mixture in there. These are people who just happened to be in my life at that certain time.
HANNITY: You say "Canseco, the Cuban, was left out in the cold where racism and double standards rule," and you say, "back in 1988, no one wanted a Cuban to be the best player in the world." Quote, you say, "White guys are the way we get called gritty and tough, a real competitor. If a black or a Latino, the white media reports on the player's difficult side as proof positive that he's a bad person."
And you often use the term, a couple of times you use the term "white media."
CANSECO: Well, if you look historically for 17 years, I didn't announce this — actually, a few of my friends brought this up. They said, "Jose, do you realize that when you look at all these articles, who has attacked you beyond the benefit of the doubt, the white media?" We cannot find ...
HANNITY: Just white reporters, is that what you're saying?
CANSECO: Yes. We could not find a minority reporter that wrote a negative article about Jose Canseco, whether they're Latino, black. None. Why is it that the white media is constantly attacking you, Jose? What is going on?
That was brought to my attention, and I finally started focusing on it and realizing, you know what? You're absolutely right.
HANNITY: It got to the point in your personal life where you were on the verge of committing suicide.
CANSECO: It was tough. It was tough looking or stepping out of your own body and looking at yourself, saying, are you this guy that this media is portraying to be a monster? It's tough to deal with that. And I guess one night, as discussed in the book, where, you know, the combinations of everything that happened finally almost took its toll on me, and you know, everyone has emotions ...
HANNITY: But you pulled a gun out and you were about to pull the trigger and you heard — tell the story.
CANSECO: Yes. The story in a nutshell, very quickly. I was still in love with my second wife, Jessica, and I found out she was with an athlete.
That combination with dealing with the media, dealing with the rumors, being seen in the public's eye a monster, constantly rumored in domestic violence and he goes to nightclubs and beats women and just beats up guys, which is just completely, a complete falsified lie. With the incident of my ex-wife that night, it almost took my life. It did.
I have emotions. I'm a human being like anyone else. And I hurt and I bleed like anyone else, and that's the night — you know, I dedicated a part of the book to where my daughter saved my life. I heard her cry. I don't know how. And I put the gun down and went to her room and brought her over and put her on my chest, and it distracted me from all that.
HANNITY: Let me ask you this. One of the things that really surprised me in the book, and you write at length about it, and it's not your relationship with Madonna, which we can talk about if you want.
You talk about baseball and sex, and the way you describe it in the book is that Roger Clemens, he's one of the very few baseball players that you knew that never cheated on his wife, and you saw him and he had incredible opportunities. You said you were amazed by that. His wife should be proud of him. All the other guys, every chance they got, they'd be headed to the strip clubs and they'd be having sex with other women.
Is that true?
CANSECO: It's part of the game. It was part of the social structure of the game. To become a superstar in the game in that era, there was partying, there was women, and that — that's just part of the social structure we had. That was part of being a baseball player. That was part of being accepted by the other guys. For example, if you didn't do those things, you weren't really part of the team, you weren't part of the other guys.
HANNITY: You had to have sex with women that weren't your wife or else you wouldn't be part of the team?
CANSECO: You didn't have to, absolutely not. No, it wasn't anything they got a gun to your head. But it was just accepted.
HANNITY: You're just acting like it's really not a big deal. It really is a big deal. It's sort of like you're taking away the veneer, the myth of these players, that they're kind of sleazy guys that just don't care about their wives and they cheat on them.
CANSECO: No, they're not. If you're going to talk about our social structure in general, I mean, there have been, I mean, essays done and computed that, you know, 70 percent of marriages end up in divorce. I mean, there is a major problem in society in that sense. But in baseball, it's a lot greater because the opportunity is there all the time, and it's just thrusted upon you. It's not like you have to go look for it.
HANNITY: So you're a victim.
CANSECO: Well, I wouldn't say a victim but ...
HANNITY: These women were coming at me and I couldn't say no.
CANSECO: ... It made it very easy and very simple. And you don't have to work for it, you don't have to do anything for it. It's just there.
It's almost like — I know what it is to be a beautiful woman constantly approached and attacked by men in that sense of "let me have your number, let's go out, I want to see you, I want to talk to you, I want to meet you." I know exactly what that feels like.
HANNITY: Jose Canseco, thank you very much.
CANSECO: Thank you. My pleasure.
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