Ken Caminiti

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Hanford, California
Birth Sign
Hanford, California

American baseball infielder Kenneth Gene Caminiti was voted the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1996 while playing for the San Diego Padres. On October 10, 2004, he overdosed on cocaine and heroin in New York, despite being a good player. He played in the major leagues for 15 years, with the Houston Astros, San Diego Padres, Texas Rangers, and Atlanta Braves. For his successes as a player and his dedication to the game, he had earned the respect of his teammates and been inducted into the Padres Hall of Fame. Kenneth entered the major leagues for the first time in 1987 with Houston and was traded to San Diego in 1995. His best season was 1996, when he led the Padres to a National League division championship while setting career highs in batting average (.326), home runs (40), and RBI (130). He also coached minor-league Padres players and helped them reach the 1998 World Series. In 2001, he concluded his career with the Atlanta Braves. He was frequently incarcerated for drug usage and frequently failed drug tests. After his retirement, he openly admitted to using anabolic drugs during the 1996 season.

Youth and Early Life

Kenneth Caminiti was born in Hanford, California on April 21, 1963, to Yvonne and Lee. He had two siblings named Glenn and Carrie. He graduated from San Jose, California’s Leigh High School in 1981. He played football and baseball in the past.

Following his outstanding senior football season, he was invited to participate in a number of All-Star Games. In 1983 and 1984, he attended San Jose State University, where he played baseball for the Spartans.

Ken Caminiti’s Career

In 1984, the Houston Astros selected Ken Caminiti in the third round of the amateur draft and signed him. In 1985, he began his professional baseball career with the Single-A Osceola Astros of the Florida State League. After this, he would play for fifteen seasons.

In 1987, he was promoted to the Double-A Columbus Astros, a Zebulon, North Carolina-based minor league baseball team. In the Puerto Rico Winter League, he also played third base for the Indios de Mayagüez with Major League baseball player Wally Joyner.

In July of 1987, at the age of 24, he made his debut in the major leagues with the Houston Astros. In 1988, he returned to the minor levels and played for the Pacific Coast League’s Triple-A Tucson Toros. During his stint with Houston, he sustained multiple injuries, although he hit 18 home runs in 1994 to win his first All-Star Game selection. He was also chosen for the All-Star Game in 1996 and 1997.

In 1994, he was moved to the San Diego Padres along with Steve Finley, Andujar Cedeo, Roberto Petagine, Brian Williams, and another player in a 12-player deal for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutiérrez, Pedro Martnez, Phil Plantier, and Craig Shipley.

In 1995, he hit.302 with 26 home runs and 94 RBI for the San Diego Padres, which rose to.326/40/130 the next season. He was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player despite playing with a significant injury for the whole of the 1996 season.

In 1998, he led the Padres to the World Series, where they were defeated by the New York Yankees by a score of 4-0.
In 1999, he received a $9.5 million contract with Houston and returned to play two more seasons as a free agent.

Several injuries prevented him from performing at his peak during his second stint with Houston. Throughout the first half of 2001, he struggled with the Texas Rangers, hitting just.232. His career concluded with the Atlanta Braves.

His 15-year career included two stints with the Houston Astros, four years with the Padres, and brief spells with the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves before his retirement in 2001. With a career batting average of.272, 239 home runs, and 983 runs batted in, he was a switch-hitter.

In 2004, he returned to baseball as the Padres’ spring training instructor. He informed his attorney that he wanted to mentor young players, educate them on the effects of alcohol and drug usage, and assist them in avoiding the errors he had made.

Awards & Achievements

Ken Caminiti won three Gold Glove Awards while playing with the Padres from 1995 to 1998.
In 1996, he was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player.
Posthumously inducted into the San Diego Padres Hall of Fame in 2016.

Ken’s Personal Life

Ken Caminiti and Nancy Smith were married on November 14, 1987. The couple separated on December 10, 2002. They had three daughters; their names were Kendall, Lindsey, and Nicole.

In the year 2000, he met Maria Romero, a mother of three, in the Smithers Center, a Manhattan drug rehabilitation facility. Romero states that she was engaged to Kenneth. However, after his death, his acquaintances discussed the brutality in their relationship and denied they were engaged.

Drug Abuse & Death

Ken Caminiti suffered from drug misuse throughout his career. Due to his alcoholism, he was taken to a treatment center in 1994; he was again admitted to a rehabilitation clinic in 2000. Additionally, he was arrested multiple times for drug possession.

A year after his retirement in 2002, he admitted to using steroids during the 1996 season in which he was named Most Valuable Player, as well as several prior seasons. Early in his career, he acknowledged misusing alcohol and painkillers.

He revealed that in 1996 when he suffered a shoulder injury but still wanted to play, he drove to Mexico, purchased steroids, and self-administered them without understanding the cycles and dosages. While on steroids, he hit more home runs in the second half of that season than in any previous season.

After his frank admission, the Senate Subcommittee on Consumer Affairs, Foreign Commerce, and Tourism convened, and fifty days later, baseball players were ordered to undergo steroid and drug testing for the first time. Prior to 2001, baseball players were permitted to use any performance-enhancing medication.

In March 2001, he was arrested for drug possession and sentenced to probation. In February 2003, while on probation, he tested positive for cocaine again and was ordered to enter a treatment program run by the Texas Department of Criminal Justice, which he completed.

In September 2004, he tested positive for cocaine, and on October 5, 2004, only five days before his death, he was brought before a court in Houston for breaking his probation. Since he had already breached probation three times, he was sentenced to 180 days in jail but was freed due to credit for time already served.

On October 10, 2004, while at a friend’s apartment in New York City, he ingested a speedball containing cocaine and heroin and immediately fainted and suffered a major cardiac arrest. That day, he died in Lincoln Hospital.

His cremated remains were placed at the Cambo Ranch in Sabinal, Texas, which he co-owned with former colleague and close friend Craig Biggio.

Estimated Net Worth

American professional baseball player Ken Caminiti had a net worth of $12 million. Ken Caminiti was born in 1963 in Hanford, California. In 1984, the Houston Astros selected him in the third round of the amateur draft. Before making his Major League Baseball debut on July 16, 1987, he advanced through the club’s farm system.