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South Valley Journal

MLB star Jose Canseco visits Herriman High

Jun 18, 2018 01:22PM ● By Greg James

Canseco launched several towering home runs; one cleared the left field wall and landed east of the softball field approximately 460 feet from home plate. (Greg James/ City Journal)

By Greg James |  [email protected]

The baseball and softball programs at Herriman High School combined to host a fundraiser for their programs. They arranged to have former major league baseball player Jose Canseco entertain and sign autographs June 2.

The crowd witnessed towering home runs, chants and even some trash talk. Canseco lofted one ball over left centerfield that hit the American flag on the pole between the baseball and softball fields, approximately 460 feet away from home plate. 

“One of the assistant coaches approached me back in January with the idea,” head baseball coach Jason DeHerrera said. “He asked if he could try to arrange to have him come and hit some balls for charity. I said, ‘Sure, let's try and get it done.’ I honestly did not think he would have the time, but he has been all in. All of the money we raise goes back to the teams.” 

Canseco lives in Las Vegas, Nevada, and he drove his own RV to Herriman High School for the event. He retired from the major leagues in 2001. He played with eight teams and was a six-time all-star, rookie of the year in 1986 and most valuable player in 1988. 

“He has been very generous and very nice,” DeHerrera said. “It has been all about the boys and girls on our teams. He talked to the team and they asked questions of a former major leaguer. It was very cool.” 

Canseco is most famous for being a member of the Oakland A’s “bash brothers.” He and Mark McGuire led the A’s to a World Series championship in 1989. He belted 462 career home runs, which is 35th on the MLB all-time list. At the time of his retirement, he had the most home runs for a Latin-born player, but in recent years he has been passed by several others. 

“It is nice to see  a major leaguer share some knowledge with these kids,” DeHerrera said. “It is amazing the things he was telling them, at 53 years old how fast his hands are and what kind of shape he is in.” 

Canseco spent time on the field hitting baseballs and softballs. Several hundred donated money for autographs and pictures with the slugger. 

“I definitely remember him playing, and being an A’s fan, I would not have missed it,” one fan said. Others donned their jerseys and hats. One little league uniform even read Coach Canseco on the back. 

“I am glad that I could come out here and help out with the cause,” Canseco said. “Hopefully we get a bunch of people that can catch the vision, and I can put some balls into orbit against this wind. People don’t always see what the players do. A lot of us get involved and work with kids and local charities.” 

He was able to speak to the Mustang players. He advised them what is to be expected of them and what they can do to become better players. He even emphasized the importance of staying away from drugs. 

“The hard work is what is expected,” he said. “Schooling is important, and I tell them to stay away from PED (performance enhancing drugs.) The scouts are looking for that kind of stuff early now. I tell them to be careful of the people they hang around with. Baseball is a great game. They will love it.” 

His career has been marred with drug implications. His book “Juiced” implicated several players as PED users and caused him to be blackballed by the league. 

“There are players in the Hall of Fame right now that used PEDs,” Canseco said. “Someday, yes, there will be a place for all of us.” 

As he displayed his hitting prowess, the fans remembered his glory years. He lamented on the toughest pitcher he had to face. 

“Randy Johnson was the toughest I ever faced,” Canseco said. “He was a left-hander and had a slider that was devastating, I was telling these kids that if your technique is good and you are locked in, you will be OK. When psychology gets in your head and you struggle a little bit, it becomes tough. I tell these kids to have fun.” 

All of the money raised will go to the teams for an indoor hitting facility. 

Donations can be submitted through the school or the Go Fund Me account.