Another Review at MyShelf.Com

Wild Times, Rampant 'Roids, Smash Hits, and How Baseball Got Big

By Jose Canseco

     Baseball memoirs are some of the better books in the sports non-fiction aisle of the bookstore. Jim Bouton's Ball Four set the bar high and many players have followed suit, giving us an inside look at the game, the camaraderie and the goings on behind the scenes. But, in the case of most of these books, the veracity of the tales told has never really been questioned.

     Enter Jose Canseco and his book, Juiced.

     Much has been made about the former slugger's book and most people have been exposed to the content on the pages, even if they've never even seen the cover of the book in their local store. For sure, the book contains entertaining stories and vignettes from Canseco's playing days. But those stories from the good old days are overshadowed by his involvement and other players' alleged involvement with steroids. The book becomes not so much a "tell-all" as it does a "tell-on."

     Canseco gives up the names of numerous players who allegedly joined him in experimenting with the strength building drugs. As a result, the book loses any of the good feelings that most baseball books possess. Those books show baseball to be a brotherhood that is tough to break into. Canseco seems to chuck all that into the wind by sharing tales about his teammates that cast them in a negative light rather than a positive one. While not making his former teammates look good, the stories that he tells are interesting because they deal with players that every baseball fan is familiar with.

     And that would be fine, if only we could be sure that Canseco was telling the truth. At this point, we can only guess. In numerous media interviews and a congressional hearing, Canseco has backed away from statements made in his book, giving the public the impression that he played fast and loose with the truth, perhaps just to sell a few books. The most startling example of these questionable statements made in the book is that Canseco actually extols the virtues of steroids. In the book, he claimed that under proper medical direction, steroids could be beneficial and posed no danger to the user. After being heavily criticized for those statements, Canseco recanted and urged people, especially impressionable young athletes, to avoid the drugs.

     Juiced is a controversial book that is an easy read and contains lots of fascinating information for baseball fans and those with an interest in the current steroids scandal and Canseco remains one of the most interesting, if cartoonish, people associated with the sport.

     Just don't take it all to be the truth.

The Book

Regan Books / HarperCollins
February 2005
More at 



The Reviewer

Jeff Shelby
Reviewed 2005
NOTE: Reviewer Jeff Shelby is the author of "Dead Week" and "Killer Swell."
© 2005