Nats lose Mike Cameron to retirement

By Zach Myles

Outfielder Mike Cameron told the Washington Nationals that he plans to retire after 17 seasons in the majors. Cameron, 39, signed a minor-league contract with the club in December and was expected to compete with Rick Ankiel and Roger Bernadina for the center-field starting job. Bryce Harper is also in the mix, but if he makes the club out of spring training, he’d start in right and Jayson Werth would move to center.

Cameron was drafted in the 18th round of the 1991 draft by the Chicago White Sox and played nearly 300 games with the club before his journey across the country started. Stops in Cincinnati, Seattle, New York (N), San Diego, Milwaukee, Boston, and Florida means that he played in all six divisions. He put up respectable offensive numbers during his career, including 278 home runs and 297 stolen bases, but he was best known for his defense. He won three Gold Glove awards patrolling center by making spectacular catches and having great range. His aggressive style led to a vicious collision with outfielder Carlos Beltran with the Mets in 2005, leading to multiple facial fractures.

His career highlight was with the Seattle Mariners in 2002 when he hit 4 home runs in a game against the Chicago White Sox. In that game, he and teammate Bret Boone hit back-t0-back home runs twice in the same inning, leading to a 15-4 victory. He never played in a World Series game and he finished his major league career with the Marlins before being released for “misbehaving” on a team flight.

It’s a shame that Cameron couldn’t even stick it out for spring training with the team because I feel like he’d be a great influence on Bryce Harper. Cameron has always been a team guy and he is great at two things that supposedly held back Bryce in the minors; smart baserunning and great defense. Mike had a great career and we’ll probably see his name on the Hall of Fame ballot in five years. He won’t make it, but he’ll definitely have a chance to garner a few votes, considering Brian Jordan was on this year’s ballot and Bill Mueller got two votes. We at Rant Sports wish nothing but the best for Cameron in his retirement.

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