Kenneth Gene Caminiti was an outstanding third baseman. The three-time All-Star played for several major league baseball teams and was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1996. But five years later, his stellar athletic career ended in scandal.
The Hanford, Calif., native played baseball at San Jose State and signed with the Houston Astros in 1987. Caminiti was traded to the San Diego Padres in 1995 and helped that team reach the 1998 World Series. He returned to Houston for two seasons then finished his career with the Texas Rangers and the Atlanta Braves. Although he was frequently plagued with injuries, the third baseman and switch-hitter earned three Gold Gloves for fielding excellence and an ESPY for Outstanding Baseball Performer.
The Braves dropped Caminiti in 2001. Eight days after being cut, he was arrested in Houston and charged with cocaine possession. Caminiti pleaded guilty in 2002 and received three years probation. That same year, he admitted to Sports Illustrated that he had used illegal anabolic steroids while playing professional baseball. Caminiti also claimed that at least 50 percent of major league players were using the artificial bodybuilding drugs.
Caminiti died on Oct. 10 of a massive heart attack. He was 41.