Jose Canseco Plans to Sue Major League Baseball

Trying to get other former big leaguers back on board

By Josh Alper
|  Thursday, Jun 18, 2009  |  Updated 1:02 PM EDT
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Athletes Tainted by Drug Allegations

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Will any other players drink Canseco's Kool-Aid?

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The irony of Jose Canseco consistently being right about which other big leaguers were using steroids and other performance-enhancing drugs is that he gets pushed further to the margins with every revelation. Unless he's got scandalous information about Walt Weiss that he's been holding for a rainy day, there's not enough material for another book. The celebrity boxing circuit only pays so much, which means that Canseco needs a new racket to keep him living the lifestyle to which he's become accustomed.

Enter the lawyers. Canseco is planning a class action lawsuit against Major League Baseball alleging that he's been ostracized from the game. It's a class action because he's trying to get players like Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro to join him in a quest for "lost wages - in some cases, defamation of character."

Presumably, it wouldn't be Canseco's character that's been defamed.

"Because I used steroids and I came out with a book, I was kicked out of the game, but I have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame. A lot of these players have not been inducted into the Hall of Fame: Mark McGwire and so forth. They’re losing salaries, because obviously when you’re inducted into the Hall of Fame, you get asked to do certain, you know, appearances and shows and so forth, which incorporates income. So there is a major income loss. Not even that, baseball blackballs you from their family, meaning you can’t have a future proper reference from them, a job, no managerial jobs, no coaching jobs, nothing. They completely sever you."

A proper reference? What kind of job is Canseco trying to get? Just show them the back of a baseball card. If that's not enough, he may be out of luck. There can't be many of Canseco's former teammates and managers lining up to tout him as a detail oriented team player.

Here's the problem with the loss of salary related to not being elected to the Hall of Fame. It's an election, which means individual voters get to decide whether or not they're going to vote for a particular player. John McCain can't sue the American citizenry for age discrimination, because what matters to you in a voting booth is up to you and you alone.

And Canseco would probably fail that test for enough voters without the faintest whisper of steroid use. That's probably not true of other players, but it seems unlikely that they'd all of a sudden admit to steroid use just because Canseco asked them to join a quixotic quest through the American legal system.

Josh Alper is a writer living in New York City and is a contributor to FanHouse.com and ProFootballTalk.com in addition to his duties for NBCNewYork.com.

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