Some cool Ken Caminiti cards, Pt. 4
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).
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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.
Here's a look at a few cards of Ken's in my collection that stand out to me (also check out Pt. 1, Pt. 2 and Pt. 3).
Who doesn’t love a grand slam?
In 1997, the restaurant chain Denny’s released a set of lenticular cards with Pinnacle Brands — a card could be purchased for 59 cents with a meal. One player from each of the 28 teams was included in the checklist, as well as cards of Jackie Robinson and Larry Doby to note the 50th anniversary of baseball’s color barrier being broken.
I enjoy lenticular cards because they appear to be in constant movement. It’s subtle, but as you tilt the card, the umpire and stands and sliding player (the Mets’ Bernard Gilkey) all shift ever so slightly, with Ken at third base attempting to apply the tag.
The card image comes from an April 3, 1997 Mets-Padres game. Gilkey was on second base. Todd Hundley lined out to center, and Gilkey advanced, sliding in just under the tag.
Here’s the slide from a different view.
When I think of my favorite Ken Caminiti cards, this Denny’s card inevitably comes to mind. It’s not valuable or all that flashy, but it captures a moment when Ken was still on the mend following his off-season shoulder surgery after his gutsy 1996 MVP season.
Ken probably shouldn’t have even been playing — a common theme as he battled injuries. But there he was, back in the lineup to start the season, back on the field faster than anyone could have imagined.
1997 Donruss Limited Exposure
Donruss Limited was complicated and confusing (a common theme for Donruss and Pinnacle products from his era).
The product was broken into four different subsets: Counterparts, Double Team, Star Factor, and Unlimited. And each card had a Limited Exposure parallel version that was limited to 40 copies (a number of additional cards were said to be backdoored).
Even with all of those issues, this card in hand is awesome. The spiral design radiates behind Ken's image, and the rainbow chromium stock seems to always catch the light in just the right way.
The card front shows Ken on defense, while the similarly designed card back shows him slugging, the perfect reflection of his dual success with the glove and bat. On the card's reverse in the top right corner is the words "limited exposure."
1988 Starting Lineup
Starting Lineup usually makes you think of the plastic figurines — and Ken had two of those during his career — but in 1988, Parker Brothers released a tabletop electronic game, Starting Lineup Talking Baseball, that relied on player cards.
Ken’s card shows him wearing a black hat and set against a yellow baseball diamond background. The depiction bears an uncanny similarity to another of his cards that year, 1988 Fleer.
The MLBPA-licensed cards are square, measuring 2 5/8″x 3″ — an odd size for baseball cards. Some of the cards feature photos, while the cards released in expansion packs like Ken’s show artistic depictions.