Here’s how the Fort Worth Star-Telegram of Thursday, May 27, 1993, described a ball bouncing off Jose Canseco’s head:
The Rangers would like to quickly forget last night’s game, and most of it will pass into baseball obscurity before the weekend is over. But one play will live in infamy for as long as baseball blooper tapes are shown.
Canseco, the Rangers’ right fielder, had a ball hit off his head and bounce over the fence for a home run.
Hello This Week in Baseball, Hello DiamondVision, Hello Baseball Tonight.
“I’ll be on ESPN for a month,” Canseco said. “I guess I’m just an entertainer.”
Cleveland’s Carlos Martinez hit it, a fly ball to deep right to start the fourth. Canseco ran back to the wall, reached up with his glove but not far enough. The ball glanced off the glove, hit Canseco square in the head, then bounced over the fence.
The rules state that any fly ball deflected into the stands by a fielder is a home run.
“I really didn’t feel it,” Canseco said. “I really don’t know what happened other than I was looking for the wall and the ball nicked off my glove and hit my head.”
The play was as critical as it was comical. The Rangers held a 3-1 lead before Martinez came to the plate. After he crossed it, Rogers’ night made a definite turn for the worse.
“It bothers you,” Rogers said about Canseco’s head work. “You want everything to go right, and everything didn’t go right. But I can’t gripe about anything, I made my mistakes, too.”
He hit Reggie Jefferson with a 1-2 pitch, then walked Glenallen Hill, who’s hitting .143 in May. Alvaro Espinoza flied out to center, and Junior Ortiz, on a hit-and run, moved the runners up with a roller back to Rogers.
But Rogers then walked Thomas Howard and Felix Fermin punched a line drive into right field that scored two runs, giving the Indians a 4-3 lead.
Canseco had more misadventures in right field in the sixth after another key two-out single from Fermin scored Espinoza and gave Cleveland a 5-3 lead.
Carlos Baerga lifted a long fly ball down the right-field line that Canseco chased into the corner where the foul line meets the stands. As he crossed into foul territory, Canseco reached to make an over-the-shoulder catch and couldn’t.
But umpire John Shulock ruled Canseco touched the ball in fair territory, making it a fair ball. So while Canseco leisurely strolled after a ball he thought was foul, Baerga raced into third with a triple. He scored on Albert Belle’s double.
“He said I touched the ball in fair territory, but I didn’t touch it,” Canseco said. “The only ball I touched was the one that hit off my head.”