Kenneth Gene Caminiti (April 21, 1963 – October 10, 2004) was an American third baseman who spent fifteen seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) with the Houston Astros (1987–1994, 1999–2000), San Diego Padres (1995–1998), Texas Rangers (2001) and Atlanta Braves (2001). He was named the National League (NL) Most Valuable Player (MVP) with San Diego in 1996, and is a member of the Padres Hall of Fame. He died of a cocaine and heroin (a speedball) drug overdose on October 10, 2004.
|Born: April 21, 1963|
|Died: October 10, 2004 (aged 41)|
Bronx, New York
|July 16, 1987, for the Houston Astros|
|Last MLB appearance|
|October 7, 2001, for the Atlanta Braves|
|Runs batted in||983|
|Career highlights and awards|
Caminiti was born in Hanford, California on April 21, 1963 to Yvonne and Lee Caminiti who had another son, Glenn and a daughter, Carrie. He starred in football and baseball at Leigh High School in San Jose, California, where he graduated in 1981. In football, he was invited to many all-star games after his senior football season. He attended San Jose State University where he played baseball for the Spartans in 1983 and 1984.
Caminiti was signed as a 3rd round pick in the 1984 amateur draft by the Houston Astros. 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.
Caminiti 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. Caminiti was plagued with several injuries throughout his tenure in Houston, but he still hit 18 home runs in 1994 which earned him his first All Star Game selection.
After six full seasons in Houston, Caminiti was traded to the San Diego Padres after the 1994 season in a 12-player trade, along with Steve Finley, Andújar Cedeño, Roberto Petagine, Brian Williams, and a player to be named later (PTBNL), in exchange for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutiérrez, Pedro Martínez, Phil Plantier, and Craig Shipley. In San Diego he reached career highs at the plate by hitting .302 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI in 1995, which rose to .326/40/130 in 1996. Despite playing most of 1996 with a torn right rotator cuff, his performance earned him the National League Most Valuable Player Award. In 1998, Caminiti led the Padres to the 1998 World Series where they lost to the New York Yankees in four games.
Caminiti returned to Houston as a free agent in 1999 after signing a 9.5 million dollar contract, 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 where he hit just .232, 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 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. Caminiti is the Padres All-Time leader in slugging percentage (.540) and OPS (.924).
Following his playing career in baseball, Caminiti was hired by the Padres to be a spring training instructor for his former team. Caminiti entered into a partnership with actor Jason Gedrick and hockey player Mario Lemieux to open a cigar bar called Ashes Cigar Club on Wall Street.
Caminiti was married to Nancy Smith from November 14, 1987 to December 10, 2002. Caminiti and his wife, Nancy, had three daughters, Kendall, Lindsey, and Nicole.
Caminiti struggled with substance abuse throughout his career. He admitted in 1994 to having a problem with alcoholism 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. His admitted steroid abuse was discussed in the 2007 Mitchell Report on steroid abuse in baseball.
Caminiti also had a long struggle with cocaine, having been arrested in March 2001 for possession and sentenced to probation. In February, 2003, Caminiti tested positive for cocaine while already on probation for cocaine possession and was ordered to visit a Texas Department of Criminal Justice-operated treatment program. The program was eliminated in May of that year and Caminiti was forced to leave after completing most of the program.
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 jail but given credit for time already served and released.
In the early afternoon of October 10, 2004, Caminiti was in the apartment of his friend in The Bronx, New York City. After being in the bathroom to have a speedball of cocaine and heroin, Caminiti came out and collapsed on the floor. At 3:36 pm a 911 call was made while Caminiti was going into cardiac arrest. Caminiti died at Lincoln Hospital in The Bronx at 6:45 pm. Preliminary news reports indicated he died of a heart attack, but the autopsy results stated that "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and opiates" caused his death, with coronary artery disease and cardiac hypertrophy (an enlarged heart) as contributing factors. Media coverage of Caminiti's death was almost completely overshadowed by that of actor Christopher Reeve, who also died in New York City the same day as Caminiti.
After final funeral services held in Solana Beach, California (a San Diego suburb), which was attended by many Padres players, past and present, Caminiti's remains were cremated and were interred at the Cambo Ranch in Sabinal, Texas, which Caminiti co-owned along with former teammate Craig Biggio.
| National League Player of the Month
August & September 1996
The Houston Astros' 1989 season in American baseball involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West. The season was best remembered for the Astros winning 16 of 17 games in late May through mid June.1990 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1990 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West.1991 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1991 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West.
The Astros finished 65-97, which tied the 1965 and 1975 clubs for the most losses in franchise history at the time.1993 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1993 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League West.1995 Houston Astros season
The Houston Astros' 1995 season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Houston Astros attempting to win the National League Central.1995 San Diego Padres season
The 1995 San Diego Padres season was the 27th season in franchise history.1996 Major League Baseball season
The 1996 Major League Baseball season was the final season of play before the beginning of Interleague play the following season. It ended with the New York Yankees defeating the defending champion Atlanta Braves in six games for the World Series title, the Yankees first championship since 1978. The record for most home runs hit in an MLB regular season, set at 4,458 in 1987, was broken, as the AL and NL combined to hit 4,962 home runs. Only 196 shutouts were recorded in the 2,266 MLB regular-season games.1996 National League Division Series
The 1996 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1996 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 1, and ended on Saturday, October 5, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. The teams were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 96–66) vs. (4) Los Angeles Dodgers (Wild Card, 90–72): Braves won series, 3–0.
(2) San Diego Padres (Western Division champion, 91–71) vs. (3) St. Louis Cardinals (Central Division champion, 88–74): Cardinals won series, 3–0.The St. Louis Cardinals and Atlanta Braves both swept their Division Series, and went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Braves would rally to win that series four games to three and become the National League champion, but would lose to the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1996 World Series.1996 San Diego Padres season
The 1996 San Diego Padres season was the 28th season in franchise history.1997 San Diego Padres season
The 1997 San Diego Padres season was the 29th season in franchise history. The Padres finished last in the National League West. Right fielder (and future Hall of Famer) Tony Gwynn had the highest batting average in the majors, at .372.
In April, the Padres played three home games at the Aloha Stadium in Hawaii against the St. Louis Cardinals. The Cardinals won the opening two games (a double header) on April 19, winning the first 1-0 and the second 2-1 before the Padres won game 3 on Sunday April 20 by a score of 8-2. Reported attendances were 37,382 (game 2) and 40,050 (game 3).1998 National League Championship Series
The 1998 National League Championship Series (NLCS), to determine the champion of Major League Baseball's National League, was played from October 7 to 14 between the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the West Division champion San Diego Padres.
The Braves entered the playoffs for the seventh straight season with a franchise-record 106 regular season wins, an offense that hit 215 home runs, and a pitching staff made up of Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, John Smoltz, Denny Neagle, and Kevin Millwood to the playoffs. However, they also carried the baggage of their embarrassing NLCS loss to the Florida Marlins the previous season. In the NLDS, the Braves swept Sammy Sosa and the Chicago Cubs.
After a 76–86 season in 1997, San Diego stormed out and took control of their division, finishing with a 98–64 record, their best in team history. The offense was led by the 50 home run club's newest member, Greg Vaughn, and by Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. The San Diego rotation was anchored by eighteen-game winner Kevin Brown, who helped Florida defeat Atlanta in the 1997 NLCS, along with All-Star Andy Ashby and the series MVP Sterling Hitchcock. Closer Trevor Hoffman saved an astounding 53 games in the regular season. The Padres defeated the favored Houston Astros in four games in the NLDS.
It was the seventh-consecutive NLCS appearance for the Braves and they would be heavily favored against the Padres.
The Padres would go on to the lose in a sweep to the New York Yankees in the World Series in four games.1998 San Diego Padres season
The 1998 San Diego Padres season was the 30th season in franchise history. The Padres won the National League championship and advanced to the World Series for the second time in franchise history.
San Diego featured five All-Stars: pitchers Andy Ashby, Kevin Brown, and Trevor Hoffman, and outfielders Tony Gwynn and Greg Vaughn. Brown and Hoffman were two of the premier pitchers in baseball for 1998. Brown led the staff in wins, earned run average, and strikeouts, and he also finished in the league's top five in each category. Hoffman saved 53 games and was voted the NL Rolaids Relief Man Award for best closer in the league. Ashby was the team's number two starter with 17 wins.
The Padres offense was led by Vaughn, who had the greatest season of his career in 1998. He ended up winning both the Comeback Player of the Year Award and the Silver Slugger Award. And in a season headlined by sluggers Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, Vaughn was matching them in home runs before finishing with 50 (compared to 70 for McGwire and 66 for Sosa). Former MVP Ken Caminiti was second on the team in home runs and runs batted in. Gwynn had a .321 batting average.
In the regular season, San Diego won the NL Western Division. Their 98-64 record was third-best in the league, behind only the Atlanta Braves and Houston Astros, who San Diego then went a combined 7-3 again in winning the NL pennant. But the Padres faced the 1998 New York Yankees in the World Series, and were swept, four games to none.1999 Houston Astros season
The 1999 Houston Astros season was a season in American baseball. The Astros won their third consecutive National League Central division title. It was their final season playing in the Astrodome as their home ballpark.1999 National League Division Series
The 1999 National League Division Series (NLDS), the opening round of the 1999 National League playoffs, began on Tuesday, October 5, and ended on Saturday, October 9, with the champions of the three NL divisions—along with a "wild card" team—participating in two best-of-five series. They were:
(1) Atlanta Braves (Eastern Division champion, 103–59) vs. (3) Houston Astros (Central Division champion, 97–65): Braves win series, 3–1.
(2) Arizona Diamondbacks (Western Division champion, 100–62) vs. (4) New York Mets (Wild Card, 97–66): Mets win series, 3–1.The Diamondbacks were participating in the postseason in only their second year of existence, the fastest any expansion team had ever qualified. The Atlanta Braves and New York Mets went on to meet in the NL Championship Series (NLCS). The Braves became the National League champion, and were defeated by the American League champion New York Yankees in the 1999 World Series.2001 Atlanta Braves season
The 2001 Atlanta Braves season marked the franchise's 36th season in Atlanta and 131st overall. The Braves won their tenth consecutive division title. The season saw the team finish first in the NL East Division with an 88-74 record – the worst among playoff teams in 2001, and also the worst record for the Braves since 1990 (meaning the worst record through their run of 14 consecutive division titles starting in 1991. Not counting the strike-shortened 1994 season). Atlanta finished the season with just a 2 game division lead over the Philadelphia Phillies.
The Braves swept the favored Houston Astros in the NLDS before losing to the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLCS 4-1, in which Randy Johnson and Curt Schilling notably dominated Atlanta's offense.2001 Texas Rangers season
The Texas Rangers 2001 season involved the Rangers finishing 4th in the American League west with a record of 73 wins and 89 losses.Greg Olson (baseball)
Greg Olson (born September 6, 1960) is a former Major League Baseball catcher who played with the Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves from 1989 to 1993. Olson was selected to the National League All-Star team in 1990 and appeared in the 1991 World Series with the Braves. In 1992, Olson was having a career year until a collision with Ken Caminiti of the Houston Astros broke his right leg. Olson played one more year for Atlanta before being released in the off season to make room for rising prospect Javy López. Olson signed with the New York Mets for the 1994 season but was released following spring training, leading to his retirement. Olson now resides in Eden Prairie, Minnesota in a mansion with his labrador retriever Ryder.Jeff Hamilton (baseball)
Jeffrey Robert Hamilton (born March 19, 1964) is a former Major League Baseball third baseman.
Selected in the 29th round of the June 1982 MLB Amateur Draft, Hamilton eventually saw success as a member of the Pacific Coast League Albuquerque Dukes, batting over .320 over the course of two seasons before being called up to make his Major League Baseball debut on June 28, 1986. He was called up several times thereafter before becoming the Dodgers' full-time Third Baseman at the start of the 1989 season.
Hamilton played portions of six seasons during his career, all with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Hamilton was a member of the Dodgers team that won the World Series in 1988 and was featured on the cover of the October 31st 1988 edition of Sports Illustrated. In 1989, he was sixth in the National League in doubles with 35 and led the NL in putouts by a Third Baseman with 139. He played his final MLB game on September 28, 1991, later retiring after a short return to the Albuquerque Dukes in 1992.
Although he was a position player throughout his entire career, he did appear in a ballgame in 1989 as a relief pitcher during a 22-inning ballgame against the Houston Astros. He was credited as the losing pitcher of that ballgame. He struck out Billy Hatcher and Ken Caminiti before giving up the game-winning hit to Rafael Ramirez. The game, which lasted over 7 hours was the longest in Houston Astros history.List of San Diego Padres team records
The San Diego Padres are a Major League Baseball (MLB) franchise based in San Diego, California. The Padres were granted a Major League team in 1968, taking their name from the minor-league San Diego Padres of the Pacific Coast League. Through May 16, 2015, they have played 7,365 games, winning 3,417, losing 3,946, and tying two for a winning percentage of .464. This list documents the superlative records and accomplishments of team members during their tenure as members of Major League Baseball's National League.
Tony Gwynn holds the most franchise records as of the end of the 2010 season, with 15, including best single-season batting average, most career hits, and most career triples. He is followed by Randy Jones, who holds thirteen records, including most career shutouts and the single-season loss record.
Trevor Hoffman is ranked fifth in Major League Baseball for most saves in a single season, while ranking second in all-time saves, recording 601 over his 18-year career. Offensively, Gwynn has the 18th highest hit total in Major League history, recording 3,141 hits over a 19-year Major League career.