“Baseball Hasn’t Been the Same”: Jose Canseco Leaves MLB World Feeling Nostalgic About the ‘PED Era’ With a Single Tweet

Published 05/14/2024, 1:50 PM EDT

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The ghost of baseball’s controversial past resurfaced recently when Jose Canseco, who personified the steroid era, honored the 22nd anniversary of his retirement with a very touching tweet yesterday. “I retired from baseball 22 years ago today,” he recalled fondly, engendering nostalgia and reviving conversations about one of the most troubled times in MLB history.

Canseco’s career was full of record-breaking achievements and scandalous revelations. He became the first player to accomplish his goals (40 homers combined with 40 stolen bases) and gained six all-star nods, two world series crowns, and an AL MVP award. Nevertheless, this legacy is forever tied to the rampant use of performance-enhancing drugs (PEDs), which plagued the game’s honesty from the late eighties until the nineties.

“Juiced: Wild Times, Rampant ’Roids, Smash Hits & How Baseball Got Big,” Jose Canseco’s tell-all book, divulged some steroid culture by naming several high-profile players like Mark McGwire, formerly known as his “Bash Brother.” Consequently, these stunning revelations damaged reputations and led to PED investigations across MLB; however, they also overshadowed some remarkable accomplishments for this generation.


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The retirement tweet made by Canseco had fans reminiscing about mammoth home runs and superhuman athleticism that were hallmarks of a period where baseball achieved previously unimaginable levels of popularity. Yet it also posed difficult questions about the cost these achievements carried as well as PED’s ethical issues.

The debate over what should be remembered or forgotten regarding this era is far from over. Some people suggest that it completely destroyed the credibility of the sport, while others believe that it represented a very interesting time in American sports when competitiveness forced players into pursuing excellence. Whether deliberate or not, this tweet by Canseco revived passions around these arguments, reminding us once more that no past can ever be buried.

“Baseball was just better when you played!”: Fans react to Jose Canseco’s retirement tweet

The complex and often contradictory emotions surrounding the steroid era are demonstrated well by the huge number of fan reactions that followed Canseco’s tweet. One of them even went so far as to say, Baseball hasn’t been the same since. Many great summer memories as a kid staying up late to watch Oakland on the East Coast. Faded my interest in MLB to watch them blackball you. Guys like Judge, Stanton, and even KD brought it back. Baseball was just better when you played! It implies a sense of longing for some excitement and spectacle that was prevalent during this time, but with an admission of its moral dilemmas at the same time.

A tide of nostalgia swept through social media, with fans reminiscing about the “Bash Brothers” era and Canseco’s pure excitement for the game. One fan pleaded, I wish you’d write a book about the history of PEDs in baseball, Jose. For some reason your generation is being singled out as if it’s a new issue. HANK AARON admitted using amphetamines in his book. Frank Thomas as well. In the 60s and 70s everyone used them.This sentiment mirrors a wider discussion on the historical context of PED use in baseball, as many have observed that performance-enhancing substances have always been part of the sport, albeit their forms have changed over time.


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Another fan fondly recalled, Part of the group that changed baseball forever, kids in the 80-90s dreamed of being as phenomenal as you and all those that made baseball fun to watch, you has fun and always took it for what it is: a game. Many things changed the game for bad after that. Saludos y abrazos. This phrase shows how Jose Canseco and his contemporaries still influence a whole generation who grew up identifying with these larger-than-life characters with their incredible performances on the field.


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Even Canseco’s infamous blooper, when a fly ball bounced off his head and over the fence for a home run, was met with affectionate nostalgia. “Loved watching you,” one fan remarked. Even the most famous blooper of all time. The ricochet offa the brain housing group into the bleachers for the home run. You laughed it off and kept going. Marines respect stuff like that 👏 This speaks to the slugger’s ability as an individual who could find humor even in such awkward moments as Canseco’s unfortunate experience described above.


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Among all those messages showing support for him quitting his professional career, fans acknowledged Jose’s contributions to this game too. “You brought so much to the game and left a lasting legacy. Thank you!” and You never had a bad offensive season and you bashed for the ChiSox during your time on the Southside. Cheers!” were just some of the numerous appreciation messages that flooded Canseco’s Twitter page.

Jose Canseco’s reminiscent tweet sparked a massive response, underlining how he remains an adored figure in baseball’s past despite all the controversies and complexity surrounding his career. He undeniably influenced both on and off-field, thus leaving people with no choice but to debate about his legacy. And it makes one yearn for those days when they stood side by side as a part of those fans who watched the amazing highs as well as the atrocious lows associated with baseball’s infamous steroid era.


Written by:

Shrabana Sengupta


One take at a time

Shrabana Sengupta is an MLB writer at EssentiallySports. Shrabana shot to fame when she covered two prime MLB events: the 2023 World Series and the Free Agency that followed. During the 2023 World Series, Shrabana wrote her unfeigned perspectives on the Texas Rangers’ Corey Seager and his wife, the 27x World Series Champions’ heartbreaking season, and later covered Shohei Ohtani’s highly anticipated record-breaking contract in 2023-24.
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Edited by:

Sampurna Pal