Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Kenneth Gene Caminiti

I don't know where to start, the Snickers game in Mexico, the three home runs in one game, National League MVP in 1996, admitted steroid user, sentenced to prison for violating probation, dying at age 41 because of heart disease brought on by years of drug use. This is the beautiful thing about humanity, there are so many sides of each of us. The intensity that Cammy brought to the game was incredible, unfortunately it doesn't seem like he was able to turn it down and was looking for the rush that competition brought him.

Ken Caminiti was drafted by the Houston Astros in the 3rd round of the draft in 1984. He made his major league debut on July 16, 1987 against the Phillies. In December of 1994 Cammy was part of a 12 player deal that sent him to San Diego. He played 4 seasons with the Padres hitting 121 homeruns, earning 3 All-Star appearances, 3 Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger and being voted National League MVP. During a series with the Mets in August of 1996 in Monterrey, Mexico, Ken was given two liters of saline solution and a Snickers bar to counter his dehydration, diarreha and nausea. He then went out and hit two home runs to beat the Mets and move the Padres into first place in their division for the first time since 1984. I got to see him play when my wife and I flew to San Diego as my only use of flight benefits when I worked as a ramp agent under the Alaska Airlines planes. In November of 1998 he signed as a free agent with the Astros, played two seasons with them before signing as a free agent with the Rangers and playing part of the 2000 season for them. In July of 2001 he signed as a free agent with the Braves who moved him from third to first, he retired at the end of the 2001 season. After retirement he was hired by the Padres to be a spring training instructor. I got the card signed through the mail.

Ken Caminiti died of an apparent heart attack on October 10, 2004 in the Bronx. The doctors said he died of acute intoxication but an enlarged heart and coronary heart disease were contributing factors. Cammy was a joy to watch and I marveled at the intensity he brought to the game and that is how I will remember him.

1 comment:

deal said...

Despite his faults I admire Caminiti. He was a man of commitment and spirit and perhaps that spirit is what undid him.

I am 41 myself now. I still consider myself pretty young or at least young at heart....it sure makes you think.