May 14, 2002

ESPN.com: MLB: Canseco calls it quits 38 HRs shy of 500. Well, Dave Kingman can rest a little easier now, as he will no longer be known as the player with the most HR's not in the Hall of Fame. Back in 1992 when he left the A's for the Rangers he looked like a shoo-in, or at least a strong candidate, though a series of screw-ups shortly after (the oft-shown ball bouncing off his head for a homer, his disastrous, injury-causing inning of pitching) changed his image from that of a Bash Brother to a bit of a joke. He bounced around from team to team, playing for seven in his last eight seasons, not including the independent Newark Bears.

For fans around my age, especially those who collected baseball cards back then, Canseco's retirement means another name gone from the storied rookie class of 1986. The 1986 rookie crop was touted by some at the time as perhaps the greatest ever, and it's a little strange to me that except for three or so players their careers are all over, and for the most part they did not reach the lofty heights that were predicted for them. Among the notables besides Canseco were Will Clark, Cory Snyder, Danny Tartabull, Pete Incaviglia, Kevin Mitchell, John Kruk, Todd Worrell, Robby Thompson, Bo Jackson, Mark Eichhorn, Bobby Bonilla, and Charlie Kerfeld. That 1986 Topps Traded set was loaded, I tells ya. As far as I can tell, the only three players remaining from the crop are Ruben Sierra (after a lengthy hiatus), Barry Larkin, and Barry Bonds, who makes up for a lot of disappointing performances by the others on this list.
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