In the early 1980s, Jose Canseco was like any other minor league ball player working hard to improve his game in hopes of someday making it to the majors. However, Canseco experienced a traumatic event that he says made him turn to illegal avenues to make his vision a reality.
The year was 1984, more than two decades before Canseco published an explosive memoir detailing his use of performance-enhancing drugs throughout his entire major-league career (calling out many of his fellow players for doing the same). Canseco was just 20 years old back then, playing good, honest baseball for the Modesto A's.
Then, a phone call changed his life.
As the World Series champ and once American League MVP tells "Oprah: Where Are They Now?" in a revealing interview, it was his sister on the other end of the line sharing some tragic news.
"My mom prior had been suffering from headaches. [My sister] said, 'Come home right away,'" Canseco recalls.
Once home in Miami, Canseco arrived at the hospital where his mother, Barbara, was being cared for. "I go into this room and my mom is hooked up to this machine that keeps you artificially alive. She was dead. Her brain was dead," Canseco says. "I cried my eyes out."
“I promised her right there on the spot that I was going to become the best player in the world for her, no matter what it took.”
Barbara died of a brain hemorrhage.
"My mom had never seen me play professional baseball," Canseco continues. "I promised her right there on the spot that I was going to become the best player in the world for her, no matter what it took."
So, before he returned to the field, Canseco got in touch with a friend who he had suspected of using performance-enhancing drugs.
"I asked him, 'What could I use to become bigger, faster, stronger?'" he says. "I started there, using PEDs."
From there, Canseco's rise and fall were equally mighty. He opens up about his regrets, receiving death threats and his life today on this weekend's "Oprah: Where Are They Now?", airing Saturday, April 9, at 10 p.m. ET on OWN.
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