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The cautionary tale of Ken Caminiti


Glen

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Interesting read.  When most people think of steroids in baseball the default players are probably Bonds and Clemens, but Caminiti was the perfect microcosm of everything about steroids, good and bad:

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2224511-the-cautionary-tale-of-ken-caminiti-the-steroid-eras-first-truth-teller?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial&hpt=hp_t4&hpt=hp_inthenews

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i haven't read the article yet, but i will. so if any of this is mentioned, then i apologize for the rehash. canseco is the guy credited for blowing the lid off the steroid scandal, but it was really caminiti. his SI article where he said that 75% of players were using roids was the first mention of it. he backtracked after what was an unexpected, for him, public outcry. in my opinion, he was working his recovery principles during the article interview and i think he felt bad for airing other player's private laundry, which resulted in his backtrack comments.

 

i don't know if there's any video of it, but he returned to san diego after his playing days were over as a broken man in recovery. he was a shell of himself and he thought the crowd was going to turn on him because he had left san diego. it ends up being an extremely powerful moment when a man filled with self loathing awakens to the fact that he's cherished. 

 

truly powerful stuff. bigger than baseball.

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Haven'

 

Interesting read.  When most people think of steroids in baseball the default players are probably Bonds and Clemens, but Caminiti was the perfect microcosm of everything about steroids, good and bad:

 

http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2224511-the-cautionary-tale-of-ken-caminiti-the-steroid-eras-first-truth-teller?utm_source=cnn.com&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=editorial&hpt=hp_t4&hpt=hp_inthenews

 

Haven't read the article yet, but wanted to comment on this. I think the big difference between Caminiti and Bonds/Clemens is that the latter two were already Hall of Fame talents when they began steroid use.

 

In Bonds' case, it turned him from the best player of his generation to possibly the second greatest player in baseball history. If you believe Game of Shadows, then Bonds didn't start using steroids until after the '98 season, when he jealously watched the McGwire & Sosa Show. Through 1998 he had accrued a career line of .290/.411/.556 with a 411 HR, 159 wRC+ and 99.2 fWAR. 1998 was his age 33 season, the year that many players start declining rapidly, but given that he was showing little to no signs of slowing down, chances are he had a couple more good years in him and then gradual decline. Let's assume he played seven more years and retired in his age 40 season, with gradual decline. He probably would have finished with something like a .285/.400/.540 line, 600 HR, a 150 wRC+ and 130 fWAR, putting him right there with Ted Williams and Stan Musial in a trinity of all-time greatest left fielders (though Ruth played almost half his OF games in left, I'm considering him more of a RF as he played a few more games there). But while steroids put him over everyone else other than Ruth, it has tarnished his reputation.

 

As for Clemens, I'm not sure what the word is on when he started using, but it would seem that it was sometime around 1996, because after a few years of decline--appropriate for his age, 33 in '96, his numbers jumped drastically back to his peak level when he went to Toronto in 1997. Like Bonds among position players, Clemens was arguably the best pitcher of his generation, but his late career bump turned him into arguably the greatest pitcher of all time (he's #1 in fWAR at 139.5).

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Caminiti -- he had demons before he had steroid demons -- remember seeing him play that MVP year he had with San Diego --

 

but he was a poster child for steroids -- and something was fishy back then but Bud Selig and everyone looked the other way.

 

I mean Caminiti was a 3B with some pop who turned into a monster --- folks had to know when he was on something.

 

Makes one wonder about other one year wonder stat guys -- Brady Anderson comes to mind.

 

another one year wonder guy from WAY BACK (not sure if they even had or heard of steroids back then) was Davey Johnson -- remember when he hit 42 HRs as a 2B for Atlanta? I don't think he hit 20 in any other single year of his career........He hit 42 -- had to be in the 70's -- probably shortly after they lowered the mound after 1968 when Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA and completed something like 30 games -- unheard of today.

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Caminiti -- he had demons before he had steroid demons -- remember seeing him play that MVP year he had with San Diego --

 

but he was a poster child for steroids -- and something was fishy back then but Bud Selig and everyone looked the other way.

 

I mean Caminiti was a 3B with some pop who turned into a monster --- folks had to know when he was on something.

 

Makes one wonder about other one year wonder stat guys -- Brady Anderson comes to mind.

 

another one year wonder guy from WAY BACK (not sure if they even had or heard of steroids back then) was Davey Johnson -- remember when he hit 42 HRs as a 2B for Atlanta? I don't think he hit 20 in any other single year of his career........He hit 42 -- had to be in the 70's -- probably shortly after they lowered the mound after 1968 when Bob Gibson had a 1.12 ERA and completed something like 30 games -- unheard of today.

 

 

i hear your overall point, but i don't think caminiti is a good example of a one year wonder. he was definitely steroid fueled though, but he did it for several years. as much as i really like caminiti the man and the lessons his example can teach us on many different levels, his entire career is tainted. in all fairness his mvp is void.

 

i, like every body else, lived through the steroid era and i was blind to it. i'm self aware of steroids, but it's hard to have clear perspective when you're in the moment and sometimes the moment can last for a long long time.

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