Just felt I shouldn't let the news go unmentioned here that former Met -- and a lot of other things -- Mike Cameron announced his retirement earlier tonight after seventeen seasons in the majors. In a tweet Cameron said:
"Jus wanna say thanks to all my family,friends,teammates, baseball world & followers for the support.. Its been a true blessing for me to put on a MLB uniform for 17yrs!! Deuces everybody gotta go throw to son now!"
Unfortunately, for most of his career Cameron was a really underrated player. Specifically, he was often perceived through the lens of what he couldn't do rather than what he could. The fact that he was the guy replacing Griffey certainly didn't help him. Couple that with his inclination toward the strikeout as well as a low batting average and the sentiment on Cameron was generally as a flawed player.
Regardless, the 39-yr old is the proud owner of a damn fine career, posting nine 4+ WAR seasons, four of which surpassed 5 WAR. Additionally, Cameron was an extremely varied player, posting four 20-20 seasons as well as six seasons with a .200+ ISO. Add in the fact that he played pretty much his entire career as a very strong defensive center fielder -- garnering three Gold Gloves -- and you've got yourself an extremely valuable ballplayer.
In his short time as a Met, Cameron posted a 4.0 WAR season in '04 and was well on his way to another nice campaign in '05 before the collision heard 'round the world. I always sort of forget that he was considered the middle-of-the-order center fielder to carry us out of tough times before Beltran. Last season, Cameron played for the Red Sox and Marlins and hit a combined .203 with nine home runs and 27 RBIs.
Again, I felt Cameron was always a generally underappreciated player and I like to think of his time as a Met as a success. Though it's tough to live down a quote like this one from 2005: