This security guard went the wrong way -- right into Ken Caminiti's path
"I'm watching the flight of the ball. When I turned, it turned out to be a major league collision."
Sometimes the unexpected run-ins stick with you.
During an Aug. 10, 1991 Braves-Astros game at Fulton County Stadium, Atlanta’s Otis Nixon swung through the pitch and hit a pop-up that went into foul territory beyond the third base line.
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Ken Caminiti, playing third base for Houston, jogged after the ball, glancing intermittently in front of him to make sure there weren't any obstacles. But there happened to be one: Robert Sarkisian, a security guard who was positioned on the field near the corner of the dugout on a folding chair (the Braves security guards were stationed on the playing surface back then).
Sarkisian stood up, grabbed his chair, and attempted to move out of Ken’s path. But he happened to be watching the ball, not the player.
“My first reaction was, 'get out of his way, get out of his way.' And I picked up the chair and I went the wrong way,” Sarkisian told me in an interview a few years ago. “I went towards the outfield and the ball drifted out, and I'm watching the flight of the ball. When I turned, it turned out to be a major league collision.”
The men and the chair slammed to the ground, followed by the ball.
The competitor in Ken was furious, but internally he understood. Sarkisian wasn’t trying to get in his way. Heck, it made a good highlight clip.
They shook hands, and over the years, Ken remained friendly with Sarkisian whenever his teams played in Atlanta. The security guard, who thought baseball should rank with air, water and food among life-sustaining elements, wrote a poem about his run-in with a freight train. Here’s one of the stanzas:
I took plenty of kidding for my twelve foot dash
And by my fellow officers I was dubbed “Crash”
And I felt that I dealt with it really the best that one can
Still I’ll always remember Ken Caminiti
The third baseman that made a large impact with me
Even though I believed in the Braves he had found a new fan!