Ken Caminiti was born on Sunday, April 21, 1963, in Hanford, California. Caminiti was 24 years old when he broke into the big leagues on July 16, 1987, with the Houston Astros. His biographical data, year-by-year hitting stats, fielding stats, pitching stats (where applicable), career totals, uniform numbers, salary data and miscellaneous items-of-interest are presented by Baseball Almanac on this comprehensive Ken Caminiti baseball stats page.
"The best way to describe him (Ken Caminiti) is that he was a warrior in every sense of the word. I can't tell you how many times I remember him hobbling into the manager's office, barely able to walk, and saying, 'Put me in the lineup.'" - San Diego Padres General Manager Kevin Towers (Barry Bloom / MLB.com / October 11, 2004)
Ken Caminiti Autograph on a 1991 Score Baseball Card (#186 | Checklist )
Ken Caminiti Pitching Stats
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Ken Caminiti Hitting Stats
Ken Caminiti Fielding Stats
Ken Caminiti Miscellaneous Stats
|Baserunning Statistics||Other Positions||Common Hitting Ratios||Common Pitching Ratios|
Ken Caminiti Miscellaneous Items of Interest
|Team [Click for Roster]||Uniform Numbers||Salary||All-Star||World Series|
|1987 Houston Astros||11||$62,500.00||-||-|
|1988 Houston Astros||11||$62,500.00||-||-|
|1989 Houston Astros||11||$129,000.00||-||-|
|1990 Houston Astros||11||$240,000.00||-||-|
|1991 Houston Astros||11||$2,200,000.00||-||-|
|1992 Houston Astros||11||$1,500,000.00||-||-|
|1993 Houston Astros||11||$3,150,000.00||-||-|
|1994 Houston Astros||11||$3,250,000.00||Stats||n/a|
|1995 San Diego Padres||21||$4,600,000.00||-||-|
|1996 San Diego Padres||21||$3,275,000.00||Stats||-|
|1997 San Diego Padres||21||$3,150,000.00||Stats||-|
|1998 San Diego Padres||21||$3,500,000.00||-||Stats|
|1999 Houston Astros||11||$4,500,000.00||-||-|
|2000 Houston Astros||11||$4,500,000.00||-||-|
|2001 Texas Rangers||41 , 11||$3,500,000.00||-||-|
|2001 Atlanta Braves||11||" "||-||-|
|Ken Caminiti Stats by Baseball Almanac|
In 1996 , Ken Caminiti hit forty home runs, the first San Diego Padres slugger to reach the plateau, since joined by Greg Vaughn ( 1998 ), Phil Nevin ( 2001 ) and Adrian Gonzalez ( 2009 ). From that set, only Caminiti was a switch hitter, and only Caminiti won the Most Valuable Player Award (the first, and only, Friar to win an MVP through today).
Ken Caminiti will long be remembered as one of the first former Major League ballplayers to admit using steroids during his career (see Sports Illustrated excerpt below). Or remembered for his alcoholism, or his overdose due to an "acute intoxication due to the combined effects of cocaine and opiates."
Steroids might even help a player become an MVP.
Caminiti was playing third base for the San Diego Padres in a series against the Houston Astros in April 1996 when Derrick May hit a flare into short leftfield. Caminiti dived for the ball, landed hard on his left elbow and shoulder, and tore his rotator cuff. "For the next six or seven days I couldn't lift my arm," he says. "I played for a month and a half in pure pain." Finally, he says, he decided to do something "to get me through the season." Caminiti had heard of players taking steroids to help them through injuries. He knew where to go.
"When you play in San Diego, it's easy to just drive into Mexico," he says.
Anabolic steroids are readily available in parts of Latin America as an over-the-counter item at farmacias that, in Mexican border towns such as Tijuana, cater to an American trade. Caminiti says he purchased a steroid labeled testosterona "to get me through the second half of the season." Then 33, he was playing in his 10th big league season. Never had he hit more than 26 home runs. He exceeded that in the second half alone, belting 28 homers after the All-Star break. He finished the year with 40 home runs, 130 RBIs (his previous best was 94) and a .326 batting average (24 points better than his previous high). He won the MVP award unanimously.
"There is a mental edge that comes with the injections, and it's definitely something that gets you more intense," Caminiti says. "The thing is, I didn't do it to make me a better player. I did it because my body broke down.
"At first I felt like a cheater. But I looked around, and everybody was doing it. Now it's not as black market as when I started. Back then you had to go and find it in Mexico or someplace. Now, it's everywhere. It's very easy to get."
Steroids are taken in what users call "cycles"--several weeks of use followed by several weeks of nonuse to allow the body to recover. Caminiti, a novice, never stopped using during the 1996 season. He wound up injecting twice as much steroids as was considered normal for ballplayers at that time. "I was just experimenting on my own," he says. "I did it wrong. My body shut down and stopped producing testosterone."
After a slow start the next season, Caminiti says he returned to steroid use, this time with the help of a friend in California who supplied the drugs. He says he continued using at various times through his career, learning from his supplier how to do cycles. "I felt like a kid," he says. "I'd be running the bases and think, Man, I'm fast! And I had never been fast. Steroids made me like that. The stronger you get, the more relaxed you get. You feel good. You just let it fly.
"If you don't feel good, you try so hard to make something happen. You grip the bat harder and swing harder, and that's when you tighten up. But you get that edge when you feel strong. That's the way I felt, like I could just try to meet the ball and--wham!--it's going to go 1,000 mph. Man, I felt good. I'd think, Damn, this pitcher's in trouble, and I'd crush the ball 450 feet with almost no effort. It's all about getting an edge."
Though he kept using steroids--in 1998, he says, "I showed up at spring training as big as an ox"--Caminiti never again approached the statistics he generated in 1996, partly because he never played another season without going on the disabled list. His injuries were mostly muscular, including a strained hamstring, a strained quadriceps, a strained calf muscle and a ruptured tendon sheath in his wrist.
"I got really strong, really quick," he says. "I pulled a lot of muscles. I broke down a lot. I'm still paying for it. My tendons and ligaments got all torn up. My muscles got too strong for my tendons and ligaments."
Caminiti was released twice last season, by the Rangers and the Braves. Upon his second release, Caminiti, who had used cocaine in the past, says he drove into a notorious section of Houston, rolled down his window and asked a man on the street where he could score some coke. Four days later Caminiti woke up in a drug-strewn motel room wearing the same clothes. Police showed up, and he was arrested for cocaine possession. He pleaded guilty and was sentenced to three years' probation and 200 hours of community service.
Caminiti lives on the outskirts of Houston, where he is tested regularly for drugs, attends support meetings three times a week and meets with his probation officer once a month. He visits often with his estranged wife and three daughters, who live about 45 minutes from him. He spends his time working out, customizing vintage cars and riding his motorcycles. He suffers from bulging disks in his back, underwent surgery last month to remove bone fragments in his right ankle and is scheduled to have surgery on his right ankle and right foot this month. He eats dinner at a pancake house near his home so often that the cooks know just what he likes: 10 egg whites. He still appears close to his playing size of six feet, 200 pounds.
"I don't think this puts an asterisk by my name," he says, referring to his 239 homers and .272 career average. "I worked for everything I've got. I played the game hard, gave it everything I had. Nothing came easy. I could sit here and lie and try to make myself look like a better person, but I'm not going to do that. I take responsibility for what I've done. I'm guilty of some bad behavior. It's embarrassing, some of the things I've done. But like I said, I don't consider steroids to be one of them."
That's not to say that Caminiti hasn't paid a price for his steroid use. He is now legally prescribed weekly shots of testosterone because of his body's continuing inability to make the hormone in sufficient quantity. "My body's not producing testosterone," he says. "You know what that's like? You get lethargic. You get depressed. It's terrible."
Source of Excerpt: Sports Illustrated. June 3, 2002. Tom Verducci. Totally Juiced: Confessions of a former MVP. Full Article .
Did you know that Ken Caminiti was the first San Diego Padres third baseman to win a Gold Glove Award , receiving the presitguous fielding honor in 1995, 1996 and 1997 - three consecutive years, a feat (winning back-to-back in three or more seasons) matched previously in the National League by Mike Schmidt , Doug Rader , Ron Santo , and Ken Boyer ?