Publish date:

Rangers History Today: Canseco Comes to Texas

The Rangers found a way to deal for one of the game's top sluggers on the final day of trading in 1992.

On this date in Texas Rangers history, Jose Canseco joined the Texas Rangers.

On August 31, 1992, the Rangers sent a bushel of talent to the Oakland Athletics for the one-time American League Most Valuable Player. The Rangers sent outfielder Ruben Sierra, pitchers Jeff Russell and Bobby Witt, and cash for Canseco.

From 1986-92, Canseco led all Major League players with 230 home runs, while he was third in that span with 721 RBI. Canseco was the unanimous American League Most Valuable Player in 1988, helped the A’s to the 1989 World Series championship and became the first player to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in 1988.

Canseco was in the on-deck circle when the trade went down, and the Athletics had to pull him off the field.

While Canseco came to Texas with much fanfare, he also came with quite a bit of baggage, and it only got heavier during his short stint with Texas.

On May 26, 1993, Canseco made it onto every baseball blooper reel from that day forward after a Carlos Martinez fly ball hit Canseco on the head and hopped over the fence for a home run. As a joke, a minor league soccer team offered him a contract.

Three days later in Boston, it got worse. Canseco talked his manager, Kevin Kennedy, into letting him pitch in a blowout loss to the Red Sox. Canseco got to be a Major League pitcher, complete with the torn ligament and the Tommy John surgery that ruled him out for the rest of 1993.

Canseco bounced back in 1994, hitting 31 home runs and driving in 90 runs in 111 games, earning American League Comeback Player of the Year honors.

A free agent after the season, Canseco signed with Boston.

The odd part of the trade? At various points after the trade, Russell, Sierra and Witt all migrated back to the Rangers.

Recommended Articles

Jul 30, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Atlanta Braves third base coach Ron Washington (37) walks to the third base line before their game against the Milwaukee Brewers at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Report: Padres Considering Ron Washington As Manager

The San Diego Padres are looking for a new manager, and are reportedly considering another former member of the Texas Rangers organization.

The Texas Rangers celebrate winning Game Six of the American League Championship Series 15-5 against the Detroit Tigers to advance to the World Series at Rangers Ballpark in Arlington on October 15, 2011 in Arlington, Texas. (credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)

Rangers History Today: American League Champions ... Again!

On this day, the Texas Rangers waved goodbye to the Detroit Tigers and punched their ticket to a second straight appearance in the World Series.

Oct 14, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) reacts after hitting a three run home run during the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers in game five of the ALDS at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

Rangers History Today: A Wild 7th Inning and ... a Bat Flip

On this day in 2015, the Texas Rangers took on the Toronto Blue Jays in Game 5 of the ALDS, one of the postseason's most bizarre games.

But Canseco wasn’t the first position player to pitch for the Rangers. That was Jeff Kunkel, and oddly enough that happened on this day in 1988. Kunkel threw one inning in the Rangers’ 10-1 loss to Minnesota. Kunkel fared much better than Canseco, pitching one inning of scoreless relief while striking out one.

Kunkel was also the second Rangers position player to pitch in a game, which came on May 20, 1989. That game was also a loss to Minnesota, 19-3. Kunkel went 1 2/3 innings in that game, giving up four runs and four hits.

Kunkel, an infielder by trade, played nearly his entire eight-year career with the Rangers, mostly as a utility player. His best season was in 1989, when he hit .270.

Also on this date …

August 31, 1974: Ferguson Jenkins won his 20th game of the season, throwing a complete game shutout against Cleveland. Jenkins became the first 20-game winner in Rangers history, and went on to finish 25-12 that season.

August 31, 1984: Buddy Bell hit the first walk-off grand slam home run in Rangers history, connecting off Pete Ladd of the Milwaukee Brewers in the ninth inning.

More From SI's Inside The Rangers:

Are we missing a moment from this day in Texas Rangers history? We’re happy to add it. Hit us up on Twitter @PostinsPostcard and let us know what to add. 

Be Part Of The Conversation On The NEW Inside The Rangers Fan Forum. Sign Up Today!

Make Sure To Like 'Inside The Rangers' on Facebook