Monday, February 20, 2012

Mike Cameron Retires

Mike Cameron first put on a Brewers uniform in 2008, the most exciting year of Brewers baseball in my life. He had come to the team on a one year contract, but was immediately endeared to his fans as a clubhouse leader and committed athlete who was excited to be in Milwaukee. After one additional season in Milwaukee he signed a two year contract with Boston, who eventually released him in the middle of his second season with them. After a very brief stint in the Florida Marlins franchise he was again released, signed a minor league contract with the Nationals, and decided to hang it up after 17 MLB seasons.

The anti-climactic end to his career was unrepresentative of his brilliance as an athlete. An unlikely star, Cameron was drafted in the 18th round out of high school by the Chicago White Sox. He was a toolsy prospect and not much more than something to dream on. During his career, Cameron was traded once for Paul Konerko and again for Ken Griffey Jr. On May 2, 2002 he tied a major league record by hitting four home runs in one game. He was a one time all-star, won two golden gloves with the Mariners and another with the Padres. He accumulated exactly 1,700 hits with 278 home runs over 1,955 games.

All the precise analysis and statistics considered, Mike Cameron may best recalled for his intangible and more human elements. Always eager to dispel his years of knowledge, he's been acclaimed by teammates throughout his career as an anchor of team leadership. Shortly after he announced his retirement, former Brewers relief pitcher tweeted "best teammate ever!". The attitude around the internet recalled sentiments similar to the homages that were paid to Gary Carter immediately after his passing. Excellent player, even better person.

Congratulations on your retirement Mike. Today, I untuck my shirt for you.

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