May 15, 2002

NO WAY, JOSE: Only 38

NO WAY, JOSE: Only 38 home runs short of 500 for his career, slugger Jose Canseco has announced his retirement. Best known as one-half of "the Bash Brothers" (along with Mark McGwire) with the Oakland Athletics in the late '80s and as the first player in history to hit 40 homers and steal 40 bases in the same season, Canseco later fell into infamy in 1993 when a batted ball bounced off his head and landed as a home run, and despite one or two good seasons struggled with injuries and a deterioration of his skills over the last decade of his career. While some will argue that Canseco's career stats and two championship rings warrant a spot in the Hall of Fame, I think he belongs on the list (along with Don Mattingly, Darryl Strawberry, Dwight Gooden, and Bret Saberhagen) of 1980s superstars who for whatever reason failed to extend their early brilliance into their 30s and thus will likely miss out on Cooperstown. And besides, people who have played for the Newark Bears, as Canseco did last year, just plain don't belong in the Hall of Fame.

FIRST REICH: With the state party convention weeks away, polls place Brandeis University professor and former U.S. Secretary of Labor Robert Reich near the top of the field of Democratic candidates for governor of Massachusetts. Reich is merely one of a gaggle of ex-Clintonites running for office this year (Janet Reno for governor of Florida, Erskine Bowles for Senate in North Carolina, Rahm Emanuel for Congress in Illinois, all following Hillary's election to the Senate from New York) though unlike the others Reich fell out with Clinton years ago, endorsing Bill Bradley for president over Al Gore. If you ask me, Reich is exactly the wrong candidate for the Massachusetts Dems to back; it's hard to imagine the party's base of working-class, union-belonging Catholics rallying around an impish, neo-socialist intellectual such as Reich. Plus, I'm reminded of those statistics showing that the shorter candidate rarely wins in national or statewide elections. If Massachusetts Democrats are intent on electing a fourth consecutive Republican governor in one of the most Democratic states in the union, Reich is their man.

Posted by Stephen Silver at May 15, 2002 01:09 AM
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