Former Mariners Outfielder Mike Cameron Belongs in the Hall… Of Very Good

Mike Cameron will fall off the Hall of Fame ballot after failing to garner a single vote and eclipse the 5% mark needed to continue his Hall candidacy. The truth is, Mike Cameron is not a Hall of Famer. But he is much closer than voters want to think.

Cameron‘s raw numbers won’t fly off the charts for most people. His .249/.338/.444 slash and 107 wRC+ are solid, but by no means elite. His real offensive value came from his rare power/speed combo.

Cameron was one of only 46 players with 200 career home runs and 200 career stolen bases by the time he retired in 2011. He fell just one healthy season shy of joining the even more exclusive 300/300 club (278 HR, 297 SB’s), of which there are only 8 members.

He fell just one healthy season shy of joining the even more exclusive 300/300 club (278 HR, 297 SB’s), of which there are only 8 members.

His five 20 HR/20 SB season ranks tied for ninth most from 1955-2011. The eight other players ahead of him? Barry Bonds,  Bobby Abreu, Carlos Beltran, Eric Davis, Alex Rodriguez, Raul Mondesi, Hank Aaron and Willie Mays.

Most Mariners fans will remember Cameron for his stellar defense. Who can forget the incredible home run robbery of Derek Jeter in 2000?

From 1997 (his first full season) until his retirement before the 2012 campaign, Cameron had the third highest defense score -according to Fangraphs- in centerfield, trailing Aaron Rowand and Andruw Jones. He also had the third-best Ultimate Zone Rating.

He had the fourth best UZR/150 (3000 inning minimum) trailing Michael Bourn, Rowand and Jones and also made the seventh most “out of zone” plays in that time. His efforts were rewarded with 3 Gold Gloves.

Often overshadowed by Torii Hunter, Cameron was actually the best defensive centerfielder from 2000-2003.

Cameron’s 50.8 fWAR made him the 20th most valuable player from 1997-2011. His fWAR during that time was higher than Jeff Kent, Garry Sheffield, Jeff Bagwell, Jorge Posada, and Larry Walker. He also was the 11th ranked base-runner (BsR) in all of baseball.

He was the 11th most valuable outfielder in his era, and the fourth most valuable center fielder, behind only Jim Edmonds, Carlos Beltran, and Andruw Jones. In his 14 full seasons, Cameron posted an fWAR of four or higher 8 times. Four times he posted a 5+ fWAR.

All of this evidence points to one undeniable fact: Mike Cameron was one of the best outfielders in baseball from 1997-2011.

Unfortunately, he is likely two prime seasons short of being a serious contender for the hall. However, his career should not be forgotten.

Mike Cameron’s place in Mariners history should be cherished.

His four years in Seattle coincided with the best stretch in franchise history. More importantly, he helped us heal.

After all, it is not easy when the love of your life decides to break up with you. It is easy to dive into depression, wondering where it all went wrong. But he did the impossible. Mike Cameron healed the wound when “The Kid” left the Mariners.

Mike Cameron replaced Ken Griffey Jr, and he did it his way.

“Cammy” will never call Cooperstown “home”, but he is always welcome in Seattle. Thank you, Cammy, for doing what we thought impossible. Thank you for doing such a good job replacing “The Kid”.

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