Mike Cameron: Mid 2000's Mets Outfielder (2003 - 2004)


Michael Terrance Cameron was born on January 8, 1973, in LaGrange, Georgia. The tall six foot two right-handed hitting outfielder got drafted in the 18th round of the 1991 draft by the Chicago White Sox.

By the time he got to AA ball in 1995 he stole 21 bases & hit 11 HRs in 107 games although he only batted .249 & struck out 104 times. The next year he improved to .300 with 39 stolen bases 28 HRs & 77 RBIs. 

MLB Career- White Sox: Cameron came up briefly as a late season call up both those years, by 1997 he was the White Sox regular centerfielder.

He was an excellent outfielder with speed, great range and a strong throwing arm. He showed some power at the plate hitting 14 HRs with 55 RBIs batting .259 coming in 6th in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Strike Outs: In his first year he struck out 100 times. He would strike out over 100 times thirteen times in his seventeen-year career. He would strike out 100 of more times for eight straight seasons (1997-2004) leading the league in 2002 with 176 times.

His 1998 season was dreadful batting .210 with only 8 HRs in 141 games with 101 strike outs. In
November of 1998 he was traded to the Cincinnati Reds for Paul Konerko. 

Reds Career: In one year spent in Cincinnati, he rebounded by hitting 21 HRs 34 doubles 38 stolen bases & a .256 batting average with 66 RBIs.

Trivia: Legendary Reds broadcaster Mary Brennaman once said that Cameron was one of his top ten all time players to be around.

Mariners Career: In 2000 he was part of a highly publicized trade to Seattle, in a deal that brought Ken Griffey Jr. back to his hometown of Cincinnati.

Cameron would become popular in Seattle even though he had big shoes to fill replacing Griffey. 

His outfield play was fantastic, and he was subject of many ESPN highlight films on Sports Center almost nightly.

He spent four seasons in Seattle having his best year in 2001, hitting 25 HRs with 30 doubles 110 RBIs a .267 batting average & a .353 on base %, making his only All-Star team. 

Trivia: That year, Cameron used his salary bonus to purchase All-Star Game warm-up jackets for all of his Seattle Mariner teammates.

In four seasons in Seattle, he drove in 75 runs or better each season, had thirty plus doubles with 95 plus runs scored & 20 or more HRs twice. He was also a good base runner, stealing over thirty bases twice with Seattle.


Overall, he stole 25 or more bases five different times coming in the league's top ten in that category four times. 

Four HR Game: On May 2nd, 2002, he went onto the record books hitting four HRs in a single game against the White Sox at Comiskey Park in Chicago. His first came off Jon Rauch. going back-to-back with Bret Boone.

He then hit a HR off Jim Parque later that inning, a solo shot in the Mariners ten run inning. He would hit two more off Parque that night. All his HRs were solo shots. In his last at bat that night he reached the warning track and just missed a record setting fifth HR by a few feet. 

Mets Career: In 2004 he signed with the New York Mets as a free agent for two seasons. 

Good Guy Mike: Cameron was always known as a good-natured guy & one of the most down to earth players around. He always had time for autographs & interviews. 

Mike Cameron debuted as a Met on Opening Day 2004 in Atlanta, batting fifth & playing center field. He hit safely in his first seven games & hit HRs in the second & third games of the year in losses to the Braves. In April he hit four HRs & drove in ten runs.

At the start of May he hit HRs in back-to-back wins against the San Francisco Giants at Shea.

Walk Off HR on Mike Piazza Night: One of his finest Mets moments came on June 18th, 2004. It was Mike Piazza Night at Shea Stadium, where Piazza was being honored for hitting the most All time HRs as a catcher. 

On hand to honor Piazza that night was centerfieldmaz as well as such catching greats: Gary Carter, Yogi Berra, Carlton Fisk, Johnny Bench, Lance Parrish & Pudge Rodriguez.

The Mets hosted the Detroit Tigers in front of 36,141 fans. Piazza & Cameron both collected two hits on the night. In the bottom of the 9th inning the score was tied 2-2 when Cameron came to bat with two outs, facing Danny Patterson. He lined a dramatic walk off HR to left centerfield winning the game 3-2.

Another Walk Off Hit: The next night Cameron another walk off hit in the bottom of the 9th inning, off the same Detroit pitcher, Danny Patterson. With one out Jose Reyes tripled, then Ty Wiggington & Cliff Floyd were both walked intentionally. Patterson was brought in to face Cameron who singled for the game winning hit.

In that week Cameron drove in runs in six of eight games while in a seven-game hit streak. 

At the start of July, he four HRs in a three-game span, driving in six runs. 

Multi HR Games: On July 7th at Philadelphia, he hit two HRs, a solo shot in the 2nd inning, then a two-run shot in the 5th inning driving in three runs in a 10-1 Mets win. He had another mutil HR game, on July 29th in a 10-1 Mets win in Montreal. In that series he hit four HRs in the four-game split.

On July 8th, he hit HRs in two more games for a streak of three straight HR games, while driving in six runs along the way. Overall that month July he hit ten HRs, with 19 RBIs. Cameron also hit safely in 31 of 41 games.

 Cameron began August hitting HRs in three straight games while driving in runs in five straight games on the road in Atlanta & Milwaukee. On August 19th he hit a three run HR driving in four runs overall in a 10-8 Mets win against the Rockies in Colorado.

A productive August had him drive in 23 runs, with 8 HRs, while hitting safely in all but seven games in the month. 

On September 18th he hit a game winning sac fly off the Pirates Solomon Torres, in the top of the 10th inning at Pittsburgh. 

In September he hit less but still finished the year as the Mets most productive hitter, even ahead of Mike Piazza whose career was winding down due to injuries.
 
In his first season in New York, he was the Mets center fielder & led the team in most offensive categories; games played (140) at bats (493) runs (76) HRs (30) stolen bases (22) doubles (30) and RBIs (76).

2005: In the off season the Mets signed Pedro Martinez & All-Star Carlos Beltran who was to be the team's main centerfielder. Cameron was to be moved over to right field, a move he was not happy with.

In Spring Training, he got injured & started out the season on the DL. He would not get into the lineup until May 5th. 

On May 6th he hit his first HR of the year, a two-run shot in a 7-4 win at Milwaukee. Two days later he hit another off the Brewers Chris Capuano, in a 5-4 Met loss. He started out the year with five HRs & 11 RBIs batting .372 at the month's end. 

In June he slumped hitting just one HR, then hit just four in July, driving in 16 runs. 

Meanwhile Carols Beltran first season in New York was an adjustment, Cameron was hitting better for average .275 compared to Beltran's .263. By the end of July, Beltran had 13 HRs just two more than Cameron's 11 HRs. But Beltran had driven in 56 runs compared to Cameron's 35.

Game Tying HR: On August 11th, the Mets were down 8-7 to the Brewers in the 9th inning. Cameron hit a game tying HR off Derrick Turnbrow to tie up the game. Mike Piazza drew a walk off bases on balls in the bottom of the 11th to win the game.




Horrible Outfield Collision: On August 11th  at San Diego's Petco Park, Cameron & Beltran collided into each other chasing a fly ball, while running at full speed. It was a horrible scene, the worst in MLB that season & & one of the worst in Mets history. 

Cameron had to be removed from the field on a stretcher, as he suffered a concussion and fractures to his cheekbone & nose. He was done for the season.

After 76 games he finished the year batting .273 with 84 hits 12 HRs 23 doubles 2 triples 39 RBIs & 47 runs scored. He 13 stolen bases, walked 29 times & posted a .342 in base %with an .819 OPS.




The Mets were moving forward to a more winning attitude. Cameron was outspokenly unhappy about switching over to left field & it all meant his days were numbered in New York.

That November he was traded to the San Diego Padres for Xavier Nady. In San Diego he joined his former Mets teammate Mike Piazza who had signed on as a free agent after the Mets had let him go to free agency.

Post Mets Career: Cameron had a good first year in San Diego, hitting 22 HRs with 34 doubles, 83 RBIs, 25 steals & a .268 average. He even received voted for the MVP Award becoming a popular player in Southern California.

He returned to Seattle in an interleague game and received a standing ovation from the Safeco Field crowd. 

He dropped to .242 in 2007 but hit 21 HRs with 78 RBIs. He signed on with the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2008 & 2009 seasons, hitting 24 HRs & driving in 70 runs both years but batting below .250 both times with over 140 strikeouts each year.

In 2010 he signed a two-year deal with the Boston Red Sox. He injured his groin & would play in just 48 games that season.

In July 2011 his contract was purchased by the Florida Marlins, there he hit 6 HRs batting .238 in 45 games. He was released at the end of the season & signed on with the Washington Nationals. He did not play with the Nats & at age 38 decided to retire.

Mariner Trivia: In 202 he signed a one-day contract with the Seattle Mariners so he could officially retire as a Mariner player. Cameron threw out the first pitch of the 2012 Mariners home Opener. 

Career Stats: In his 17-year career Cameron has played in 1955 games batting .249 with 1700 hits, hitting 278 HRs 383 doubles 59 triples & 968 RBIs. He stole 287 bases, has hit 60 sac flies drew 867 walks & posted a .388 on base %. He struck out 1901 times (13th most all time).

In the outfield he played 1921 games (63rd most all time) playing 1787 in center field (15th most all time). As a center fielder he has 4698 put outs in center (25th all time) with 72 assists (89th all time) turning 19 double plays (86th most all time) & making 64 errors (50th all time) with a .987 fielding %.

Charity Work: Cameron is the founder of the Cam4Kids Foundation and was host of the First State Golf Tournament for Inner City Kids in Seattle in 2002. This to raise money for scholarships to inner-city youth. He is actively involved with the Make A Wish Foundation & Starlight Foundation.

Book: In 2002 he co-wrote a baseball book geared to kids, where he says his keys to success are
open mindedness, teamwork & self-confidence.


Family: Mike married his high school sweetheart JaBreka in 1999. They have three children together. 

His son Daz Cameron played for Eagle's Landing Christian Academy & was drafted by the Houston Astros in 2015 & became a coach with the Mariners.

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