10 Years Ago Today…We Lost Ken Caminiti


Why was Ken Caminiti in a rundown part of the Bronx that fateful day in October of 2004? That answer is simple. It was to get that high, that indescribably must have that fueled years of his life. Ken Caminiti, the former MVP, matinee idol, husband and father, was nothing more than a junkie on that October day, and enough was enough. 

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It didn’t matter that in 1996, he had been voted a unanimous winner of the National League’s Most Valuable Player Award. Within two years, he was a shell of his former, steroid-loaded self. His teammates adored him, his general manager felt sorry for him, and the public just wanted to see more of him. Ken Caminiti was just as much the poster child of the steroid era as Jose Canseco or Mark McGwire. He was decorated, celebrated, and feared.

"“What we saw, was not normal. It was a superhuman effort. That game said a lot about the person.”Tony Gwynn to Nick Capeda of the U-T San Diego"

That game, as the late Padres’ legend referenced it, was San Diego’s visit to Monterrey, Mexico, and Caminiti was so out of it, he could barely stand. A candy bar and attempted IV injections later, he hit two home runs in his first two at-bats. The hulking third baseman was just as much a part of the Padres’ success in the mid-1990s as any player on the roster. He only spent a handful of years in San Diego, but if you talk to anyone who is or was a Padres’ fan during that time period, they will all agree that Ken Caminiti is one of the all-time great Padres.

What is unfortunate, is that while he was in absolute control on the field, he was a complete and utter dumpster fire off of it. Addiction is a disease, no matter whether you are a crack whore in an alley turning tricks to get your fix, or a multi-million dollar athlete who is spending his king’s ransom faster than he can make it for that high. It appears the only place that Caminiti ever felt comfortable, was with his baseball family, on the road or in the clubhouse. Away from the stadium, it was anyone’s guess as to where or when he might show up.

Unfortunately, ten years ago today, we know exactly where Ken Caminiti ended up. Rest in Peace sir.