Canseco speaks the truth

Jose Canseco's book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big is out...

Jose Canseco's book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big is out today, detailing the use of performance-enhancing drugs in the major leagues. (Toronto Sun File Photo/Ken Kerr)

BOB ELLIOTT -- Toronto Sun

, Last Updated: 7:23 AM ET

In May of 1998, we asked Jose Canseco, then of the Blue Jays, whether he had taken steroids. He said he never had.

Last night, on 60 Minutes to promote his new book Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big, he said he never would have made it to the majors without steroids. He also said he injected Mark McGwire when they were teammates on the Oakland A's.

So, was Canseco lying in 1988 or last night?

We've heard people knock Canseco, call him a sneak and a low-life among other things. Yet, we haven't heard anyone launch a lawsuit. Maybe that will come when the book is released today. Or maybe not, which means that despite his poor track record, Canseco is speaking the truth in the book.

McGwire, who has continually denied using steroids, has his supporters. As former A's coach Dave McKay told us the other day, McGwire was so good, "he almost broke Roger Maris' single-season home run record as a rookie in 1987."

"Here he is, two years out of college, he didn't play much of the first month because we had him behind Rob Nelson and he didn't play the final series at Tiger Stadium," McKay said. "And he still hit 49 homers when he only had 145 starts at first base. He hit 49 homers in not a full season and he didn't know what vitamin C was."

What was apparent from last night's interview, was that the Bash Brothers theme the 1990 A's were selling was about as sincere as draft beer bought in the bottom of the ninth.

Bulldog Mike Wallace challenged Canseco only once. After saying he injected McGwire in the butt once or twice when the two were in a clubhouse bathroom stall -- they don't make stalls large enough for two lumps like this to bend over in -- Wallace said "you wrote often in the book."

Part II of the interview comes Wednesday when, no doubt, 60 Minutes will ask the former slugger about his jealousy toward McGwire and ask why after peaking at $5.8 million US a year in 1995 with the Red Sox, Canseco is in financial trouble?

Besides his book, other income of late has been from selling 50 pieces of personal memorabilia the past two years, including his 1987 rookie of the year ring on eBay for $5,100 and his 1988 AL MVP plaque for $30,000.

And fans can contact his website to arrange to stay a day with him.

DEEPEST SYMPATHIES

The late Peter Widdrington always cut to the chase.

During the labour dispute in 1994 between Major League Baseball and the players' association, there was a make-or-break stage.

Commissioner Bud Selig and players association boss Don Fehr were meeting and spinning their circles.

We phoned Widdrington, the Blue Jays' chairman of the board, in 1994 after Aug. 12 when play was halted -- but before the post-season was cancelled -- and were surprised when he said: "Only two things prevent us from reaching an agreement."

And what were they?

"Don Fehr's balls," Widdrington said. "There won't be an agreement until Bud Selig has them both placed on his mantlepiece."

Peter Nigel Tinling Widdrington died of a massive heart attack on Friday in Aspen, Colo., at the age of 75.

After attending Pickering College, he graduated from Queen's and received his MBA from Harvard. He went on to become top dog at Labatt and joined the Jays' board in 1980. But above all, he was a proud Canadian.

The Jays always staged end-of-the-season banquets and, on one occasion, with another Quebec referendum on the ballot, he told the players: "Our success could be one of the great unifying things for this great country of ours. As Canadians, we have many differences, but cheering for this team is one thing we all seem to agree about."


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