Some cool Ken Caminiti cards, Pt. 3
Here's a look at a few cards in my collection that stand out to me.
Ken Caminiti's baseball career coincided with lots of developments in the baseball card world.
His early major league days came during the so-called "junk wax era" because cards of the late 1980s and early 1990s were generally mass produced (and typically not very valuable).
Out of the age of stale gum and overprinted cardboard came developments that are still in use today: higher-end releases, serial-numbered inserts, flashy, shiny, chromium card stock, and autographs and game-used items featured on cards.
1997 Topps Gallery Peter Max Serigraphs
Eat your heart out, Project 70.
Long before Topps was releasing art-themed cards on its website, it was including Peter Max mini-paintings in packs of 1997 Topps Gallery.
Ten subjects were included in the set, and versions of the cards autographed by Max (and numbered to only 40 copies) were also inserted.
To complicate matters, Max has autographed some of the base insert cards in the years since, some of the pack-inserted autographs have begun to fade, and apparently some additional autographed cards that were never inserted in packs were later backdoored.
The non-autographed Serigraphs fell one per box, on average, and Ken's card shows a photo of him getting ready to toss his helmet, surrounded by wavy, squiggly brushstrokes in red and peach, with a frame of yellows and blues.
1988-89 BYN Puerto Rico Winter League
Ken went to Puerto Rico after his difficult 1988 season and ended up having a great winter playing for Mayaguez of the Puerto Rican Winter League. Mayaguez was stacked with MLB talent in 1988-89 -- his teammates included Steve Finley, Tom Pagnozzi, Ricky Jordan, Jeff Brantley, Jeff Fassero, and Roberto Hernandez, and he bonded with the team's manager, Tom Gamboa. Mayaguez advanced to the Caribbean Series that season, and Ken established himself as a middle-of-the-order slugger who could drive in lots of runs -- an important step that helped him gain confidence ahead of his first full MLB season in 1989.
BYN produced a 192-card regular set and 64-card traded set in 1988-89 that featured the league's players, a mix of homegrown talent like Juan Gonzalez and Javy Lopez and American "imports" like Jay Buhner and Rex Hudler.
Ken looked good in Mayaguez's burgundy and gold uniforms, and his BYN card offers an important snapshot of his baseball journey.
2001 Upper Deck Gold Glove Leather Bound
Game-used jersey and bat cards are common. But you don't see fielding gloves embedded on cards very often. Upper Deck went all-out with 2001 Gold Glove, adding all sorts of untraditional items on cards, such as batting gloves and baseballs.
The Leather Bound insert featured an eclectic checklist of players' gloves -- Dock Ellis and Roy Campanella are both included.
Ken is seen playing first base for Atlanta on the card, an experiment that didn't go too well for Ken or his fellow players. He likened his first base mitt to a "taco."
Since Ken was best known for his fielding prowess, it's neat to have a little piece of his glove in my collection.