Several professional and Olympic athletes once called Kings County home. Did you know these athletes were from Kings County?
Ken Caminiti was named the National League’s Most Valuable Player in 1996 as a member of the San Diego Padres. The third baseman was also named an All-Star three times. Caminiti spent 15 years in Major League Baseball, mostly with the Houston Astros and the Padres. His last season, in 2001, was split between the Texas Rangers and Atlanta Braves. He is the Padres all-time leader in slugging percentage and OPS (on-base percentage plus slugging percentage).
After Caminiti retired, he admitted in an interview with Sports Illustrated that he had taken steroids during his MVP season. He also had a substance abuse problem with alcohol and cocaine, the latter of which would ultimately take his life in 2004.
Caminiti was born in Hanford in 1963. He left behind three daughters with his ex-wife, Nancy Smith.
Cornelius Warmerdam broke the pole vaulting world record in 1940. He would go on to beat his own world record seven times in four years, and held on to the record until 1957.
His parents were immigrants from the Netherlands and he quickly was given the nickname “Dutch.”
Warmerdam was born in Long Beach and raised on Hanford. He attended Hanford High School and Fresno State, and coached track and field at the college for several years. He died in 2001 in Fresno at the age of 86.
David Ausberry played as a tight end for the Oakland Raiders in the NFL. Injuries limited his professional career, and he only played 34 games from 2011 to 2014 for the Raiders. Ausberry signed with the Detroit Lions for the 2015 season, but was let go from the team before the season began. Before his professional football career, he played as a wide receiver for USC.
At Lemoore High School, Ausberry was a two-sport star. He led the Tigers to their only Central Section football title in school history and was voted West Yosemite League basketball player of the year twice by coaches. Ausberry graduated from Lemoore High School in 2006.
Tommie Smith won the 200-meter sprint gold medal at the 1968 Summer Olympics in Mexico City. During the medal ceremony, Smith and teammate John Carlos raised their fists in the air as a civil rights protest. Smith attended Lemoore High School.
In an interview with The Sentinel, Tommie Smith corrected those who thought it was a black power salute.
Jose Ramirez is currently undefeated (22-0) in his professional boxing career with 16 knockouts. He also competed at the 2012 Olympics in London as a light welterweight.
Ramirez teamed up with Kings County Supervisor Richard Valle last November for "Operation Gobble," a program that provides Thanksgiving turkeys to local families in need.
Ramirez is an advocate for immigration reform and water rights for farmers. The boxer was born in Hanford and raised in Avenal, where he currently lives.
Dameane Douglas played as a wide receiver for the Philadelphia Eagles for four seasons after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in 1999.
He also played college football at Cal. Douglas was born in Hanford and attended Hanford High School.
Isaiah Martinez was a three-time state wrestling champion at Lemoore High School. He now attends the University of Illinois, where he won two straight NCAA wrestling championships in 2015 and 2016. In 2017, Martinez went into the tournament as the No. 1 seed, but lost in the final match to Penn State's Vincenzo Joseph.
Now a three-time All-American, Martinez is 98-2 in his career at Illinois and is the active leader in career win-percentage (.980).
Lorenzo Neal played fullback in the NFL for sixteen seasons for eight teams, including the Saints, Chargers and Raiders. He was selected to the Pro Bowl four times. Neal went to Lemoore High School and played college football at Fresno State.
In 2014, Neal visited Corcoran Unified School District to tell students about the importance of hard work.
Tyson Chandler began his 17th NBA season this past fall with the Phoenix Suns. He spent his first five years in the NBA with the Chicago Bulls. Chandler won an NBA championship in 2011 with the Dallas Mavericks and a gold medal in the 2012 Olympics. In 2013, as a member of the New York Knicks, he was named to the NBA All-Star Team.
Chandler was born in Hanford and grew up on a small farm. In 2011, he returned to Hanford’s Home Garden neighborhood to help with a food giveaway, put together by Feed the Children and The Salvation Army.
Lemoore's Jeff Fabry has won titles at the World Archery Festival, the National Archery Association U.S. Outdoor Nationals, the National Field Archery Association championships and the Paralympics.
He originally showed interest in archery as just a hunting technique, but would go on to win a gold medal at both the 2012 Paralympics in London and the 2016 World Archery Para Championships in Beijing.
Fabry lost most of his right arm and right leg in a motorcycle accident at age 15.
Chad Mendes is a UFC featherweight fighter. He was born in Hanford and wrestled at Hanford High School.
Mendes has not been in a UFC fight since December 2015. He was suspended two years for doping.
The late Bill Renna won the World Series with the 1953 New York Yankees. He also played for the Philadelphia and Kansas City Athletics and the Boston Red Sox during his six-year American League-only career. Prior to his final season in Major League Baseball, he spent 1957 with the San Francisco Seals of the Pacific Coast League.
Before his professional career, Renna attended and played baseball at the University of San Francisco. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps for two years during World War II. After the war, he went to Santa Clara University on a football scholarship and played both football and baseball at the school.
Renna was born in Hanford and attended Hanford High School in the 1940s. He died in 2014.
Bill Landis was a pitcher for the Kansas City Athletics and Boston Red Sox in the 1960s. Landis was born in Hanford and attended Hanford High School and West Hills College in Coalinga.
In 1967, the Red Sox made it to the World Series. Unfortunately, Landis was called into National Guard service on the first day of the Series and missed all six games.
Mark Lee played cornerback for 11 seasons for the Green Bay Packers and was recently inducted into the team’s Hall of Fame. He was drafted by the Packers in the 1980 NFL Draft after attending the University of Washington.
As a member of the Hanford High School football team, he was a member of the only squad in the school’s history to go undefeated during the regular season.
Lee was given the key to the city of Hanford after his induction into the Packers’ Hall of Fame. Hanford city officials proclaimed July 22 “Mark Lee Day.”
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Jewrel Thomas -Los Angeles Rams. Kenny Thomas- Kansas city Chiefs.
Chuck Cecil, played for the Green Bay Packers and Arizona Cardinals, was from Hanford and played football at Hanford High, Freshman through Junior years.
Robert Guzman - Minnisota Twins, played Freshman (1994) year at Avenal High and Sophmore - Senior (1995-1998) years Lemoore High, played 3 years at Cal State Fullerton and went College Baseball World Series twice.
looks like someone needs to do their homework a little better before writing an article...
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