Ken Caminiti: Wikis


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Ken Caminiti

Third baseman
Born: April 21, 1963(1963-04-21)
Hanford, California
Died: October 10, 2004 (aged 41)
New York, New York
Batted: Switch Threw: Right 
MLB debut
July 16, 1987 for the Houston Astros
Last MLB appearance
October 7, 2001 for the Atlanta Braves
Career statistics
Batting average     .272
Home runs     239
Runs batted in     983
Career highlights and awards

Kenneth Gene Caminiti (April 21, 1963 – October 10, 2004) was an American third baseman in Major League Baseball and the 1996 National League Most Valuable Player. He was born in Hanford, California, and attended San Jose State University. He died of a drug overdose on October 10, 2004.


High school years

Caminiti attended Leigh High School in San Jose, California and played football and baseball. In football, he was invited to many all-star games after his senior football season.

Baseball career

Minor leagues

Caminiti played professional baseball for 15 seasons, beginning with the Osceola Astros of the Single-A Florida State League in 1985. He also played third base for the Indios de Mayagüez along with Wally Joyner in the Puerto Rico Winter League. He earned a call-up to the Double-A Columbus Astros in 1987.

Major leagues

He made his major league debut at age 24 with the Houston Astros on July 16, 1987. In 1988, Caminiti returned to the minor leagues, playing with the Triple-A Tucson Toros of the Pacific Coast League, before he was called up to stay late in the season.

After 6 full seasons in Houston, Caminiti was traded to the San Diego Padres after the 1994 season in a 12-player trade. In San Diego, he hit .283 with 18 home runs and 75 RBI in 1994 which rose to .302/26/94 in 1995 and .326/40/130 in 1996. His 1996 season won him the National League Most Valuable Player Award.[1]

Caminiti returned to Houston as a free agent in 1999, where he played for two more seasons. He was slowed by injuries during his second tenure in Houston, and after struggling the first half of 2001 with the Texas Rangers, he was released and finished his career with the Atlanta Braves, who moved him across the infield in an effort to fulfill their desire for a power-hitting first baseman.


Caminiti won 3 Gold Glove Awards while playing for the Padres[2] in 1995, 1996, and 1997, and he was unanimously selected as the National League's MVP in 1996. In 1994, 1996, and 1997, he appeared in the All Star Game.

Post baseball career and death

Following his career in baseball, Caminiti was hired by the Padres to be a spring training instructor for his former team.

Before his death, Caminiti had gone into a partnership with actor Jason Gedrick and hockey player Mario Lemieux to open a cigar bar called Ashes Cigar Club on Wall Street.[3]

Caminiti struggled with substance abuse throughout his career. He admitted in 1994 to having a problem with alcohol and checked himself into a rehabilitation center in 2000. In a Sports Illustrated cover story in 2002, a year after his retirement, he admitted that he had used steroids during his 1996 MVP season, and for several seasons afterwards.[4] .

Caminiti also had a long struggle with cocaine, having been arrested in March 2001 for possession and sentenced to probation. On October 5, 2004 – just five days prior to his death – he admitted in a Houston court that he had violated his probation. He tested positive for cocaine in September 2004. It was his fourth such violation and he was sentenced to 180 days in prison but given credit for time already served and released.

He was discussed in the Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in baseball in regard to his past admitted steroid abuse.[5]


Caminiti died at Lincoln Memorial Hospital in The Bronx on October 10, 2004. Preliminary news reports indicated he died of a heart attack,[6] but the autopsy results showed "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and opiates" as the cause of death, with coronary artery disease and cardiac hypertrophy (an enlarged heart) as contributing factors.[7] Rob Silva, an acquaintance of Caminiti who spent part of the day with him on October 10, told Newsday that Caminiti was edgy and depressed on the day he died, but also said he did not witness Caminiti using drugs on that day.[citation needed]

See also


External links

Preceded by
Sammy Sosa
National League Player of the Month
August & September 1996
Succeeded by
Larry Walker
Preceded by
Barry Larkin
National League Most Valuable Player
Succeeded by
Larry Walker

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