October 11, 2004
Steroids claim the life of Ken Caminiti - Was it worth it?
by Ray Mileur
Former Major League Baseball all-star Ken Caminiti, who admitted taking steroids to boost his playing career, died Sunday of a heart attack. He was 41.
My first response to the news, is I'm so full of complete range of human emotions, to include, rage, anger, love, & sorrow that I can't even think straight and yet here I'm trying to write about it.
I want to scream, I want to cry, I want to fight someone, I want to hug someone and most of all I want to stop the clock go back and change everything.
Why? Was it worth it?
Caminiti for some reason was one of my favorite ballplayers. The ex-MVP of the National League in 1996 and gold glove winner was selected to the all-star team three times and found himself on my fantasy baseball rosters throughout his career.
In his career he hit 239 home runs and drove in 983. The slugger was a .272 career hitter. His best season came in 1996, when he hit 40 home runs and 130 RBI for the San Diego Padres .
Caminiti also played for the Astros and Braves in the National League and the Texas Rangers in the American League..
In 2002, Ken Caminiti become the first American professional baseball player to publicly admit using steroids in 2002. "It's no secret what's going on in baseball," said Caminiti, who retired in 2001 after 15 years in the major leagues.
Quotes from AP sources;
"At least half the guys are using (steroids). They talk about it. They joke about it with each other."
Caminiti said he used steroids for about eight years after injuring his shoulder as a member of the San Diego Padres.
"I got really strong, really quick. I pulled a lot of muscles. I broke down a lot," he said.
Caminiti's best season was 1996 when, at age 33, he hit 40 homers had 130 runs batted in and a .326 batting average.
He said the steroid use was catching up to him.
"My tendons and ligaments got all torn up. My muscles got too strong for my tendons and ligaments.
"And now my body's not producing testosterone. You know what that's like? You get lethargic. You get depressed. It's terrible."
Caminiti is the latest in a long line of athletes to die at a young age after admitting to using performance enhancing drugs. Remember the sudden death of Mike Webster of the Pittsburgh Steelers or how about former National Football League star Lyle Alzado who's death was attributed to steroid use.
I'm amused when people want to talk about steroids and their impact on the game, I'm more concerned about steroids and their impact on the human being.
As a private investigator and body guard, I have an assignment coming up in December overseas in the Middle East where I'll be assisting in the managing of security and the protection of professional wrestlers from the WWE, while they are on tour.
It's because of this assignment and the initial research that I was doing in preparing for it, that the use of steroids has been in the back my mind even before this story broke this morning.
I'm sure if anyone has watch professional wrestling in the last 15 years you have to know that steroids use was rampant among it's biggest stars. This may be the best place to look at steroids and how it effects the lives of those who use them.
Since 1997, about 1,000 wrestlers 45 and younger have worked on pro wrestling circuits worldwide, wrestling officials estimate. A USA today study in 2003 showed, an examination of medical documents, autopsies and police reports, along with interviews with family members and news accounts, shows that at least 65 wrestlers died in that time, 25 from heart attacks or other coronary problems — an extraordinarily high rate for people that young, medical officials say. Many had enlarged hearts.
As part of my research, I was looking at the roster of wrestlers of the WWE and I was wondering whatever happen to some of the wrestlers I used to watch a few years back?
What I found out too many of them were dead. Among them;
Big Boss Man - dead at 42 - heart attack? autopsy pending
Hercules Hernandez - dead early forties - heart attack
Jerry Tuite "The Wall" - dead at 36 - heart attack
Moondog Spot - dead at 40 - heart attack
Crash Holly - dead at 34 - cause unknown - possible heart attack
And I could go on with others who died way too young because of steroids, heart attacks (related to steroids?) pain killers overdose, drug overdose, Curt Hennig, Davey Boy Smith, Big Dick Dudley, Bam Bam Terry Gordy, Yokozuna, Bobby Duncan Jr., Rick Rude, the Renegade, Crusher Blackwell, Big John Stud and on and on.....
I wonder how often many time young fans watching these professional athletes bulked up by the use of steroids, have wished that they could be bulked up and buffed just like them or what if they could only just trade places with them?
The thing that scares me most is, how many right now are using the steroids in hopes of being just like their doomed heroes.
It's just not worth it.
If ever there was a sample of athletes who's use steroids and it's impact on the athlete, no one should have to look farther than the world of professional wrestling.
It's interesting that it appears to some degree that wrestling has cleaned up it's own house as it pertains to steroid use and drug testing. If they can clean up their house, wouldn't you think baseball could clean up it's own house?
Baseball has implemented recent changes to its drug testing policies which critics have called too lax.
I tend to agree with the critics.
As a rule, I don't need the government or anybody protecting me from myself or telling me what to do,
but the news of yet another potential steroid related death cries out that something should be done. I'm not sure what, but I do know this, that the use of steroids isn't worth it, the price is way too high.
It just isn't worth it.