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ken caminiti, 1988 topps #64, astros

Player: Caminiti, Ken

Card: 1988 Topps #64

Position: 3B

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Born in Hanford, CA, Kenneth Gene Caminiti was a third baseman who spent 15 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).

Caminiti’s major-league debut was spectacular. On the first play of a game against the Phillies, he made a diving catch and bullet throw to get speedy Juan Samuel. Over the next couple of innings, he made several more outstanding plays in the field. After the game Philadelphia manager Lee Elia lamented, “(Caminiti) just defensed the heck out of us.”

As notable as his play in the field had been, it was his times at the plate that really impressed. Leading off the fifth, his second plate appearance, he drilled a triple off the right-center-field wall. Two innings later he crushed his first major-league home run. In the ninth, with the score tied, 1-1, he worked a one-out walk. Two hitters later center fielder Gerald Young banged out a single that brought Cami home with the winning run.

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. A great fielder, contact hitter and a power hitter, Ken earned three Gold Gloves, a Silver Slugger Award and made three All-Star teams.

Caminiti struggled with substance abuse throughout his career, including steroid use. He admitted in 1994 to having a problem with alcoholism and checked himself into a rehabilitation center in 2000. He died of a cocaine and heroin (a speedball) drug overdose on October 10, 2004 in the Bronx, NY.

(excerpted from SABR, BR Bullpen & Wikipedia)


1991 Topps #174
1992 Topps #740
1992 Donruss #66
1993 Upper Deck #305
1993 Bowman #504
1993 Score Select #47
1996 Leaf Signature #NA (Autographed)
2002 Fleer Tradition #172
2009 Italian American Baseball Heroes #19


Listen to Larry Baldassaro’s interview with Ken here – or view the Next Stop on the Baseball Italian Style Tour

Ken Caminiti is part of the MVP/Cy Young Tour – Go To The Next Stop

Ken is part of the All-Star Player Tour – Go to the Next Stop

Ken is also part of the Braves Players Tour – Go To the Next Stop

See Ken’s baseball cards at TCDB

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