Ken Caminiti, who won the National League MVP in 1996, died Sunday, Oct. 10, 2004, in the Bronx, New York, of an apparent heart attack. He was 41.
In his career, he hit .272 with 239 home runs and 983 RBIs. He was selected by the Astros in the third round of the 1984 amateur draft and had debuted with Houston in 1987.
Caminiti’s play on the field had been tainted by his admissions of what he had done as a player. At the conclusion of his career in the major leagues, Caminiti had admitted to using steroids.
In September 2004, Caminiti had admitted in court in Houston that he had violated his probation and had tested positive for cocaine use. He had been sentenced to 180 days in jail.
The judge had given him credit for 189 days he had served in jail and in a treatment facility since he was sentenced to three years probation for an arrest on cocaine charges in 2001, according to wire reports.
In December 1994, he was part of a deal between Houston and San Diego that sent Caminiti, Andujar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Roberto Petagine, Brian Williams and Sean Fesh to the Padres for Derek Bell, Doug Brocail, Ricky Gutierrez, Pedro Martinez (not the one currently pitching for Boston), Phil Plantier and Craig Shipley.
As a player, Caminiti had been an All-Star in 1994, 1996 and 1997. He was named the National League MVP in 1996 when the Padres won the division and he had one the Gold Glove for third base in 1995, 1996 and 1997.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated in May 2002, he admitted that he had used steroids during the 1996 season when he hit .326 with 40 home runs and 130 RBIs.
He served as a spring training instructor for the Padres in 2004.