Little Bits of History

40-40 Club

Posted in History by patriciahysell on September 23, 2011

José Canseco (photo by Glenn Francis)

September 23, 1988: José Canseco becomes the first member of the 40-40 club. Because statistics are fun, baseball is chock full of them. The club is for major league players who accumulate both 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. More common than the 40-40 club is the 30-30 club. It is the same idea there, but just with lower numbers. There are currently only four members of this prestigious club; Canseco has been joined by Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998), and Alfonso Soriano (2006). There are far more members in the 30-30 club with Ken Williams starting the list in 1922.

Included in the 30-30 list but not quite making it to the higher list are some notable heartbreakers. Larry Walker, Hank Aaron, Jeff Bagwell, and Ellis Burks all hit the 40 home run mark but fell short of the stolen bases mark. In 1990, Barry Bonds stole 52 bases but did not manage to get the required home runs that year. Eric Davis, Carlos Beltran, Howard Johnson, Jimmy Rollins, Vladimir Guerrero, Willie Mays, and Bobby Abreu all managed to steal enough bases without getting enough home runs. There are also several years with the members of the 40-40 club didn’t quite measure up but did managed to make it to the 30-30 club list. Ian Kinsler was added to the 30-30 club in 2009, the last member – so far.

Canseco was born in Havana, Cuba on July 2, 1964. The family left Cuba when José and his identical twin brother were just infants. They came to the US and grew up in the Miami, Florida area. Canseco was drafted right out of high school and snatched up during the 15th round by the Oakland Athletics in 1982. He was well regarded while playing in the minor leagues and noted for his long home runs even then. He was moved up to the majors in 1985 and played 29 games with the Oakland A’s in 1985. He stayed with the team until 1992.

Between 1992 and his baseball retirement in 2001 he played for the Texas Rangers, Boston Red Sox, Oakland Athletics, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Devil Rays, New York Yankees, and Chicago White Sox. In 2005, Canseco admitted to using anabolic steroids. In 2007, he only received 1.1% of the ballots cast to become a member of the Hall of Fame (5% of the votes are needed for inclusion). He has participated in Mixed Martial Arts and run into some legal issues. His baseball career has been overshadowed by issues with steroid use.

“I think baseball owes McGwire a gratitude of thanks for putting baseball back on the map where it should be.”

“They’re taking decent steps. They’re going to get rid of steroids little by little. The answer is not having Bud Selig do his own private witch hunt.”

“I don’t know if I’m directly trying to take on the whole baseball establishment. I’m just basically telling a story of my life.”

“Do I believe steroids and growth hormones helped me achieve that? Yes. Were there a lot of other players doing it that I had to compete against? Yes.” – all from José Canseco

Also on this day:
I Shot the Sheriff – In 1980, Bob Marley played his last concert.
No Crash – In 1999, Qantas suffered its worst incident of the century.