Saturday, January 8, 2011

Happy Birthday Cammie!!

When Ken Griffey Jr. demanded a trade before the 2000 season, he tied the Mariners hands by giving a list of four teams he would accept.  Eventually that became one team, the Cincinnati Reds.  The Reds had us over a barrel and sent us a package of Mike Cameron, Brett Tomko, Antonio Perez and Jake Meyer.  It didn't seem to be enough, at the time, to replace Junior's bat, his glove in center field or his waning enthusiasm in the clubhouse.

 In the end maybe it wasn't enough, but Mike Cameron emerged as a fan favorite in the 2000 season. Arriving as the replacement for the most popular sports figure in Mariners history if not Seattle's history, Cameron robbed Derek Jeter of a home run at the left center field wall on April 7, 2000, his first M's homestand.  Though we were never quite able to say Ken who, Cameron played a frantic, fabulous center field, covering as much ground as Junior, without all the hoopla, but with a sense of style all his own.  Blessed with power, speed, lots of strikeouts, and an unreasoning hatred for Safeco's batters eye, Cammie could never quite let us forget Junior's bat.  I loved to watch him play and I've never forgotten his play at the wall.  Still playing despite a horrendous injury in a collision with Carlos Beltran with the Mets in 2005, I often think of those golden years when Cammie roamed Safeco's center field from 2000-03.

Hey, can't forget Walker Cooper's birthday too .  A solid catcher for the Cardinals, Giants, Braves and Redsfrom 1940-57.  Cooper was an eight time All-Star and was second in Most Valuable Player voting in 1943.  Noted for his size and strength, Cooper was not to be messed with.  Enos Slaughter recalled:

 He'd be catching and a guy would come up to hit and Cooper would spit tobacco juice across his shoes. The guy would back out of the box and look at him, and Cooper would say, "Well, what are you going to do about it?" Here's this six foot four, 220 pounder, wearing a mask and chest protector.  What were you going to do about it?  Nothing.

1 comment:

Dave S. said...

Cammie was always a favorite because he seemed to truely enjoy playing the game. He was easy to root for. It is too bad that he had convinced himself that he couldn't hit at Safeco..