If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?
Similarly, if Jose Canseco is invited to sign autographs (for free!) and no one shows up, is he really there?
Wednesday night, the 1988 American League Most Valuable Player hit Rosemont, IL to take part in opening night of The 38th National Sports Collectors Convention and alongside NBA Hall of Famer Nate “Tiny” Archibald and longtime hockey star Ron Duguay, headlined the annual Topps VIP Reception.
And while it might be fun to take shots at Canseco (and let’s be honest, we’re all guilty), the question is a legitimate one…does baseball’s first 40/40 man actually draw a crowd? Think about it, this is the same guy who, after what very well could have been a Hall of Fame-worthy career on the diamond, went on to become the PT Barnum of his own traveling circus. Do people want to see him?
Short answer. Yes.
Long answer. Yes. Yes. Yes.
— Ross Forman (@RossForman1) July 26, 2017
It’s true, the former Oakland A’s slugger-turned-New York Times bestselling author is still a major draw…and, it turns out, it has nothing to do with tabloid headlines and has everything to do with the fact that, more than thirty years after his big league debut, Canseco is still one of the most popular guys out there.
Even if it’s been nearly 16 years since his final big league at bat.
“I was a big A’s fan when I was younger, with Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter…all those guys,” Mark Mallory said. “When Canseco came on the scene, he was hitting those mammoth home runs. He was a big guy…muscular. Kinda like how Aaron Judge is today. That’s what attracted me to him.”
TC Thornton shares the same thoughts as Mallory. The friends made the more than 250-mile trek south from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to see the embattled slugger.
“Growing up I was always a ‘Bash Brothers’ fan, I thought it was a good opportunity to meet somebody you don’t get to see that often,” Thornton added.
Richard Hardy might not be old enough to remember Canseco, the player. That said, it’s the former outfielder’s current antics that drew the New Jersey native and his mom, fellow collector, Melissa, to The National.
“He’s an entertaining guy, a little over the top on Twitter at times, but he was a great ball player and not a bad guy overall,” Hardy said about the larger-than-life six-time All-Star.
The NSCC runs through Sunday, July 30 with dozens of paid autograph guests on the schedule.
Don’t forget to check our special NSCC section with articles, video and a photo gallery relating to the show.