Jose Canseco plans to announce his next lofty goal in spring training. It's already clear he won't settle for 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases again.
"I want to become a better ballplayer," the Oakland right fielder, the unanimous winner of the American League Most Valuable Player award, said Wednesday. "I'm not going to stop improving. I'm only 24 years old."Canseco can't improve on the results of voting by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
He is the seventh AL player to be the MVP unanimously, and the first in 15 years. Hank Greenberg (1935), Al Rosen (1953), Mickey Mantle (1956), Frank Robinson (1966), Denny McLain (1968) and Reggie Jackson (1973) preceded him.
"I was really surprised it was unanimous. It's really exciting," Canseco told reporters in a conference call from Hawaii, where he's wrapping up a honeymoon trip before returning home to Miami.
"I'm real happy to win the MVP ... but if I didn't win it I wasn't going to be really disappointed," he said. "The thing that will stand out mostly in my mind is the 40-40 because I was the first to do it."
Canseco reached the historic 40-40 plateau in homers and stolen bases on Sept. 23. When he announced it as a goal last spring, he didn't realize that no one had ever achieved it.
Boston left fielder Mike Greenwell was a distant runner-up with 242 points, 150 behind Canseco. He was followed by Minnesota center fielder Kirby Puckett, New York Yankees right fielder Dave Winfield, A's reliever Dennis Eckersley, Boston third baseman Wade Boggs and Detroit shortstop Alan Trammell.
In his third full season, Canseco hit .307 with a major-league high 42 homers and 124 runs batted in while leading the Athletics to a major league-leading 104 victories and the AL pennant. He stole 40 bases and was second in the AL with 120 runs scored, finishing among the top 10 in 12 of 17 offensive categories.
Canseco's 111 career homers, including five after a late-season callup in 1985, are the 10th-highest total for a player at the end of the year in which he turned 24. The other nine players are in the Hall of Fame.
He said he'd like to trim his strikeouts to "maybe 100" in 1989. He has already reduced it from 175 when he was AL Rookie of the Year to 157 in 1987 and 128 last season.