Back in Time

Alright, this post is going to take us back a few decades to the early ’90s… a time when you could call the Pirates a contender and not get laughed out of the room and when those very Pirates had a sleek power hitter named Barry. But this post isn’t about Barry or the Pirates, as much as that would make for an intriguing topic.

Instead it’s about Mike Cameron, who played for the South Bend White Sox from 1992-93, and recently retired from baseball after 17 big league seasons. It begs the question… how does a career .249 hitter last 17 seasons … especially with all the strikeouts (more than 1,900)?  Speed, defense (3 x gold glove) and sneaky power…

Maybe his power wasn’t so sneaky. By my calculation — and please correct me if I’m wrong — Cameron hit more career big league home runs (278) then any former Silver Hawk in a non-rehab capacity (Carlton Fisk rehabbed with the team in 1992). He swatted 30 big flys with the Mets in ’04.

This would have been tough to project 20 years ago. If you look at Cameron’s two-year stint with South Bend, it did not go well from a numbers or power standpoint. He hit .228 in limited action in ’92 and came back for a full season in ’93 and posted a .238 average, the lowest clip among regulars. In ’93 strikeouts were high (101), walks were low (27), and he did not hit a single home run. He was certainly not on a “big league pace,” if there even is such a thing. Instead of regression, or early retirement, what followed for Cameron was marked improvement to the point where he hit 28 home runs with Double-A Birmingham in 1996 and was a big league regular the following season.

Cameron was involved in two interesting trades — he was shipped to the Reds in a deal that brought Paul Konerko to the White Sox; a year or so later Cameron was shipped  to the Mariners in a deal that brought Ken Griffey Jr. to the Reds. Cameron played  for eight different teams in 17 seasons — an interesting finish to a career that started ominously in the minors.

Notes:

This is pretty cool … the Elkhart F.O.P Little League was recently the victim of vandalism and the Silver Hawks are holding a “equipment donation drive” to help replace that which was stolen or vandalized. Check out the details here.

TL

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