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I was truly shocked and saddened to learn of the passing of Kem Caminiti last week. The 1996 National League MVP seemed to reach all the dreams many men wish for: good looks, fame, great baseball ability and the wealth these attributes bring.

Caminiti went from a skinny Houston Astro to a muscle-bound San Diego Padre in 1996 and put up gigantic numbers, so I was not surprised when steroid stories came out a few years back. But when I found out about cocaine addiction, I was floored. Why, oh, why do these athletes, who have so much in life, turn to drugs? An allergic reaction like Len Bias had can kill you instantly or a bad cut or mix can have the same results. I hope a lesson is learned here for all people, not just sports or movie stars.

I'm sure Caminiti had more things in life than this author ever had or will have, but maybe not. Maybe I would rather work two jobs and be healthy and happy than be a drug addict and miserable. Perhaps money isn't everything. Very soon the stories of Caminiti's final days will come out, and I just hope the media lets this man be buried with some dignity and eases the pain for his wife and children.

I've been a true Yankee lover since 1968 and very rarely idolize other players, but Caminiti had all the ingredients I love in a player, and I came to follow his career as much as I do Yankee players. Rest in peace, Cami. Hopefully some good will come of this tragedy, and future players and fans alike will stay clear from these demon drugs, which have destroyed many a life in our great country for a number of years.

Joseph Zanghi


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