Number 1: Mike Cameron
My dad is a diehard White Sox fan. I knew who Mike Cameron was when he started getting playing significant time with the White Sox in 1997. I knew who he was when they traded him to the Reds for Paul Konerko.
I liked Mike Cameron. I liked that he was fast and that he hustled.
But when the Mariners traded Ken Griffey Jr. to the Reds for Mike Cameron and others, I wasn’t happy. He wasn’t Ken Griffey Jr. But he grew on me. Big time.
He played the game the right way, as evidenced by his hustling double in the 2001 All-Star Game at Safeco Field. He wasn’t Jr., but he made some Junior-like catches in CF, like when he robbed Derek Jeter of a homer in 2000, or when he took a double away from Carlos Lee the next year.
Mike Cameron struck out a ton, but he also had a lot of fun always. He played the game with a smile on his face. He was no slouch for the Mariners; he averaged more than 20 homers a year in his four seasons in Seattle.
He won two gold gloves. He helped the M’s get to the playoffs. He averaged more than 25 stolen bases a year with the M’s. He hit four home runs in a game.
Mike Cameron was part of the 2001 Mariners, the team that helped Seattle get over Griffey and A-Rod. He’s a loveable Mariner, and I certainly loved the way he played. That’s why he’s my top unsung Mariner.
My honorable mention selections: Kenji Johjima, Rafael Soriano, Julio Mateo, Joey Cora, and Carlos Guillen, in no particular order.
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