18 years later
Ken Caminiti died on Oct. 10, 2004. The circumstances of his death don't define who he was.
Ken Caminiti died on this date, Oct. 10, 2004.
Forty-one years old.
For those who knew Ken closely, who knew him personally, the news was crushing. They remember exactly where they were and what they were doing when they learned the news.
How stunned disbelief made way for tears.
As a baseball fan, Ken's death struck me, too, so much that I wrote about it at the time. I've revisited my feelings about Ken’s death a lot over the past decade as I worked on my book about him.
"Ultimately, the Ken Caminiti story is one of tragedy due to its abrupt finality — there is no real conclusion or culmination, just a jumbled assortment of loose frays and disjointed vignettes," I wrote at the time. I also wrote in 2004 that in Ken's case, closure "can never really be found," and I think that's held true.
Even after I spent so many years bringing the loose frays and disjointed vignettes of his life together, closure still remains elusive. Everyone wanted to see Ken happy and healthy and living a long, fruitful life …
The end of Ken's life, which occurred in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx in New York City, is a difficult topic to explore. But it doesn’t define who he was.
So I don't really want to focus on the circumstances of Ken’s death today.
Instead, I want to celebrate his life and think of his goodness — of the teammate and friend he was and the way he helped people. The way he cared. That’s the best way to remember him, today and every day.