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Showstoppers Dad may be a lounge act, but San Jose goalie Joe Cannon headlines a band of talented brothers

Aug. 26, 2002
Aug. 26, 2002

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Aug. 26, 2002

Showstoppers Dad may be a lounge act, but San Jose goalie Joe Cannon headlines a band of talented brothers

Only one player in Major League Soccer knows what it's like to be
canonized and Cannon-ized. Yes, San Jose Earthquakes goalie Joe
Cannon knows his story is peculiar, but the facts speak for
themselves. Fact: If Joe Cannon sounds like a stage name worthy
of Bazooka Joe, that's because it is. Fact: Cannon's father is
among the funniest, raunchiest lounge singers you'll ever see.
Fact: Cannon is one of three brothers who are pro athletes--in
three sports.

This is an article from the Aug. 26, 2002 issue

Yet the most remarkable fact about the man born Joseph Reid
Peloquin may be this: Four years after failing to be drafted,
Cannon has become a top MLS goalkeeper and a fan favorite in San
Jose. Thanks in large part to the 27-year-old Cannon, the
defending champion Earthquakes had the league's best record
(12-7-3) and stingiest defense (1.00 goals per game) through
Sunday. "Joe's athleticism is amazing," says San Jose defender
Jimmy Conrad. "I don't see any other keepers in this league
making the saves he does."

Athleticism is the Cannon clan's calling card. Joe's identical
twin, Jon, is a lefthanded relief pitcher for the San Francisco
Giants' Double A affiliate in Shreveport, La.; brother Colt, 20,
is a pro skateboarder and a former U.S. amateur champion; and
brother Cody, 24, might have been a pro water polo player--he was
a standout at the University of Pacific--if the U.S. had a league.
"None of us was musically inclined like our dad," says Joe, "but
we all had different interests in sports."

Joe and Jon have been drawing notice since they won a case of
diapers for being the first twins born in Idaho in 1975, on Jan.
1. During the Cannon kids' childhoods they would spend half the
year at the family's home in Los Altos Hills, Calif., and then
pack and move to Sun Valley, Idaho, where their dad, Joe Sr.,
would perform gigs in the winter and the spring. With their
mother, Barbara, ferrying them around in a 1981 gray Chevy van,
the boys tried every sport, from baseball and basketball to
swimming, tennis and skiing. "Everyone said they would be the
next Phil Mahre and Steve Mahre," Joe Sr. says of the twins, who
won several age-group titles while skiing on the same team as
Picabo Street.

Naturally, much of the Cannon boys' zest for performing comes
from their father. Born Jean Peloquin to French-Canadian parents
in Rhode Island, he adopted the stage name Joe Cannon at the
start of his singing career in the early 1970s and legally
changed the family surname to Cannon in '80. In December 1990 the
Los Angeles Times called him "the one-man party of the Reno and
Sun Valley saloons."

Known for his uncanny impersonations of Elvis Presley, Roy
Orbison and Bryan Adams, Joe Sr., who is still performing (his
most recent gigs have been in Las Vegas), says he could bring a
crowd to its feet with what he called "the dirty song portion" of
his show. "My dad's a ham," says Joe, whose parents divorced in
1990, "but I got my manners from my mom."

Even though Joe and Jon play different sports, they maintain an
almost eerie connection. When Jon played for the Giants' Class A
farm club in San Jose for half of last season, his place of
business (Municipal Stadium) was only a block from Joe's (Spartan
Stadium). "Sometimes I'd be pitching, and I could hear the crowd
getting louder and louder at Joe's game," says Jon. "I got to
know by the sound if he had given up a goal or if his team had
scored."

These days it's usually the latter. With forwards Landon Donovan
and Ariel Graziani providing the offensive spark, a solid back
line slowing attacks and the 6'2", 190-pound Cannon protecting
the goal, the Earthquakes are poised to get the top seed in the
playoffs, which begin on Sept. 25. At this rate Cannon might earn
his first invitation to the national team. "I've always had two
major goals," he says. "One, to win an MLS title, and two, to
play for my country. I want to get there, and I know my time will
come."

Those achievements would meet just about anyone's definition of
success, whether your name is Joe Cannon, Joe Peloquin or Joe
Palooka.

COLOR PHOTO: COURTESY OF JOE CANNON (INSET) ENTERTAINERS Joe Sr. (right, in the '80s) was a big hit in Sun Valley, and Joe Jr. has become an All-Star on the MLS stage.COLOR PHOTO: TOM HAUCK/ALLSPORT [See caption above]