Tuesday, January 27, 2009

And Then They Were Brewers: Mike Cameron

Almost 1 year ago the Brewers signed free agent Mike Cameron to a 1-year deal, with a club option for a second year. Although he was suspended for 25 games at the beginning of the 2008 campaign for testing positive for a banned substance a second time, he still had a great season as the Brewers' center fielder. I don't know if you've ever had the opportunity to see him play, but the ground this guy covers is amazing. He is 36 years old but still has amazing speed out in the field. I'm not sure if it's the long season or his age finally getting to him, but it wasn't until September that it became a question of whether or not Cammy was going to be able to run down a gapper. At Miller Park in Milwaukee, these "gappers" are especially dangerous because the outfield wall lacks any sharp protrusions or corners that would help a ball careen off the wall and help out a fielder. Now if we could only work on those strikeouts...

Anyhow, I decided to celebrate those players who find their way into the clubhouse at 1 Brewers Way in Milwaukee after what sometimes is quite a long road, or in some cases, just an odd one. Here's a look at how Cammy found his way to Milwaukee.

Chicago White Sox (1995-1998)
1998 Pinnacle Inside #46

Cameron began his MLB career in the not-so-great city of Chicago, playing for the southsiders in 1995. He wouldn't become the starting center fielder until 1997. Once in a minor league game for the Sox he took a ball to the eye socket, nearly losing his sight and ending his playing career.

Cincinnati Reds (1999)

2000 Pacific Crown Collection #66Cameron was traded to Cincinnatti in 1998 for first baseman Paul Konerko.

Seattle Mariners (2000-2003)

2003 Topps #129 , 2003 Topps Opening Day #111

Before the 2000 season, the Reds traded Cameron and a couple other players to Seattle for Ken Griffey Jr. It must be nice financially sound enough in nest egg to be able to turn down a $148 million contract as Griffey did that year. Guess he wanted out of Seattle really bad.

The guy who took this picture must have died in 2003, because the folks at Topps felt some sort of obligation to honor him by using his photo - apparently, the product of the only game the Mariners allowed the Topps photographers into - twice. Of all the lousy ways to save a buck...
New York Mets (2004-2005)
San Diego Padres (2006-2007)

2006 Fleer #212In trying to find a card that had Mike Cameron in a Mets uniform, I came across this bad boy. For brevity's sake, I'll use this one and perform the "two-fer". In July of 2007 my submarine pulled into San Diego for a few days and I was able to watch then-Padre Greg Maddux pitch against his former team.

And finally, Mike Cameron found his way to Milwaukee.

Reportedly, Cameron was instrumental in luring C.C. Sabathia to Milwaukee last summer, so I have him to thank for that. This winter when his name was circling around as being trade fodder for some Yankees pitching I was bummed out, but happy to hear that he will be in a Brewers uniform once again this season. Cammy hit 25 homers in only 120 games, so if he stays healthy (and avoids any more "tainted" suplements) here's hoping he is able to do even more w/ an availbale 162 (not 137) games in 2009!

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