Ken Caminiti’s pro baseball career began on a rain-slicked Florida field on a night when the errors nearly outnumbered the fans.
Ken Caminiti’s pro baseball career officially began on this date 37 years ago -- April 12, 1985 -- on a rain-slicked Florida field on a night when the errors nearly outnumbered the fans.
It was an inauspicious debut for Ken and the Florida State League’s Osceola Astros, Houston’s brand new Single-A affiliate.
Team officials had hoped to sell 2,500 tickets for the home opener. A pregame show featured “clowns in a baseball slapstick.” But then the skies opened and the rains poured down, and the game itself resembled a clown act— with a 63-minute rain delay and steady drizzle making way for a sloppy game.
Osceola took the lead in the seventh, scratching across three runs as a result of two singles, three walks, two errors, and a wild pitch. In the top of the eighth, the Daytona Beach Islanders loaded the bases against Osceola’s Chuck Mathews. Reliever Doug Shaab entered the game. Ty Nichols was batting for Daytona Beach, with the game’s outcome in the balance. He hit a ground ball to third. Ken wasn’t going to let a little rain stop him from making the play. He fielded the ball cleanly and fired home, getting the runner at the plate. Daytona ended up scoring two runs in the inning, but it wasn’t enough, and Osceola scraped by, 9–8.
Ken, batting seventh, went 2-for-3 with two runs, one double, and one run batted in.
The announced attendance for Ken Caminiti’s first minor league game: 393. In actuality, a couple of dozen people stuck through the rain to watch the game. You could count the individual umbrellas.