As a little kid, I cheered for the Oakland A's because, well, they were really good. My favorite player was Jose Canseco, who narrowly edged out Storm Davis for the #1 spot.

At the time, around 1989, Canseco's 1986 Donruss rookie card was one of the hottest cards in the hobby, selling for $100 or more based on condition. There were even warnings in the Beckett Price Guide to "beware counterfeits."

My grandpa, who grew up in the depression, told me he'd buy me the card for my birthday. We went to our local Shinders and I showed him the card, which he asked the clerk to take out of the display for purchase.

We get to the register and the guy says "That'll be $105." My grandpa had no idea how much this baseball card was going to cost, and he was not ready for this. He immediately screamed out "Someone call the cops I am being robbed!" Then, he tried to haggle them down to $10, but, surprisingly, that didn't work and I didn't get the card.

I ended up saving up my money and splitting the card with my grandparents from the other side of the family. Almost as soon as I got the card in my hands, the value went waaaaaaaay down and the card was tucked away into my collection. Oh well.

However, in 1994, I got a phone call. The person on the other side of the call claimed to be Jose Canseco. I immediately called this person a liar and hung up the phone. But they called back.

After answering a series of questions that only Canseco would know (all of the questions were from the back of a baseball card), I was able to independently confirm his identity.

It turned out that he was eating at a Mall of America restaurant that my mom worked at, and he wanted me to come up there to meet him. The problem was, my parents had just gotten divorced and my dad was (understandably) in no hurry to rush me up to my mom's work for any reason.

So, I did what any 12 year old would do- I threw a fit that would embarrass a toddler until ultimately getting my way. I was going to meet my all time favorite player, Jose Canseco.

When I got to the restaurant, Canseco could not have been a nicer guy. He had already written me a note ("stick with baseball, that's where the money is"), he let me try on his World Series ring and signed my once-again prized possession: my 1986 Donruss rookie card, which is pictured above.

A lot of things have been said and written about Canseco since then, some of it fair and some not. However, my encounter with him was remarkably positive and I will always be fond of Canseco and his effect on my childhood.

MN Twins On Cameo

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