Ozzie Canseco – 1991 Score

December 1, 2010

“Well, There’s Who You Know…And Then There’s Favoritism.”

That’s one of my favorite quotes from Raising Arizona, but it’s not exactly true about Ozzie.

He was a January draft pick and spent three years as a pitcher. Then he converted to outfield, was released and then signed by Oakland in 1986. He had some legit power in the minors.

Now what IS true is that I doubt Ozzie would have spent time in the bigs if he was named Ozzie Feinberg, or Ozzie Garbey, or even Ozzie Nelson. He had power but not enough to offset his strikeouts and low BA. When he was called up by Oakland in 1990 they were in need of an OF, but he didn’t get a return call to Oakland after the Huntsville season was over – which says something.  His two cups o’ joe in St. Louis were short-lived, and his final one was again due to necessity (and again didn’t merit another recall in September).

As with many players, he couldn’t shake the baseball bug and found himself trolling for jobs in the Independent Leagues. His glory year was at age 35 in Newark, where he hit 35 home runs and had an OPS of 1.068. His teammates included Craig Worthington, Bobby Bonds Jr., Bobby Hill (not the King Of The Hill character), Joe Borowski (proving that closers can come from ANYWHERE) and Reggie Williams. The Atlantic League was rather much an offensive league – every team but one averaged five runs a game (and the other was at 4.97). The league ERA was 5.36 and one team’s ERA was 6.47. And the average age was about 28 for all of the players.

So it wasn’t exactly a paragon of high competition, but I bet it was fun for Ozzie that season!

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