With the lockout in place, we’re going to take this opportunity to reflect back on some of the brightest stars in Mariners history with a Throwback Thursday series. Each week, we’ll pick a Mariner from the past and look back at some of their brightest moments in an M‘s uniform. To kick it off I thought it would be fun to look back at some of the highlights from the Mariners career of the man who replaced the kid in centerfield.
Let’s take a closer look at the Mariners center fielder, Mike Cameron
Mike Cameron came over from Cincinnati in the Ken Griffey Junior trade and proceeded to fill in admirably for the next four seasons. While it would be unfair to expect anyone to replicate the production that the Mariners got from Griffey, I think it is fair to say that Mike Cameron delivered what the Mariners had hoped for when they demanded his inclusion in the trade package with Cincy.
After a couple of strong seasons with the Chicago White Sox, Mike Cameron joined the Cincinnati Reds and enjoyed a breakout season, posting career-high numbers across the board.
With Griffey ready to move on, Mariners GM at the time, Pat Gillick didn’t have many options to choose from, so he decided to send Griffey where he ultimately wanted to be (since Griffey had an option in his contract allowing him to veto any trades). What they got in return was a package that included Cameron, and three other guys whose names aren’t really worth mentioning.
At the time it felt like it was a no-win situation for the Mariners, but Cameron, the centerpiece that Seattle got in return, helped the team get back to their winning ways. In 2000, his first season with the M’s, the team made it all the way to the ALCS, then followed that up in 2001 with the historic 116-win season, during which Cameron was recognized as an All-Star, and earned his first Gold Glove in center field.
As far as his other accomplishments as a Mariner, Cameron won a second gold glove in 2004, his final season with the team. He posted solid numbers during his four seasons with the team, including averages of .797 (OPS), .446 (SLG) with 87 homers. But what I really want to do with this article series is take a look at some of the most memorable moments from these players’ Mariner careers. Cameron had more than a few but we’ll start with my favorite.
Mike Cameron and the Four-Homer Game
This game made history in just the first inning when both Bret Boone and Mike Cameron hit two home runs before the White Sox could even record three outs. But what makes it legendary is Cameron didn’t slow down after that. He tacked on two more and almost added a fifth in what goes down as one of the most memorable offensive performances by a player in Mariners history.
Mike Cameron makes an amazing Diving Catch
Cameron seemed to have some of his biggest games as a Mariner against his former team, the White Sox (see the 4-homer game). While he had a TON of defensive highlights during his time in Seattle, I’m particularly fond of this diving catch he made against the CWS in 2001 because of how he absolutely sells the house to go up and get it. That landing couldn’t have felt great, but knowing that play would show up on highlight reels for years to come probably lessened the pain.
The play I’m referring to goes from the 0:00-1:07 mark in this video
The Robbery of Derek Jeter
I had to include one against the Yankees here because this rivalry was hot back in 2000. This particular play is great because 1. It’s the Yankees, 2. It’s Derek Jeter, and 3. Well, just watch…
Mike Cameron was an incredible replacement for the Kid, and it would’ve been hard to have wanted anyone else to take his place. Cameron helped make Mariners baseball fun, and we should all be thankful for his time with the team.