1. Mike Cameron will always be remembered primarily for a steroid suspension before any on-field accomplishments come to mind.
2. Way to bury the lede — Tris Speaker, all but universally regarded as the best defensive outfielder of all time, comes in WHERE on this defensive metric?
I beg to differ on your first point. Perhaps you should qualify that statement with “In my opinion…”
I happen to think the fans of the teams that got to watch him on a daily basis will disagree.
Actually, that fact that you are from NYC tells me all I need to know…
Comment by Eric White — February 21, 2012 @ 10:38 pm
I’m confused. Sometimes comparing apples to oranges makes me go bananas. The paragraph that leads with a sentence about Cameron’s 17 seasons seems focused only on muddying already Amazonian waters. I get that Heyman’s point is, in reality, superficial. But he’s also right. WAR gives the impression that it’s only a counting stat. Indeed, it is sold by the baseball intelligentsia as that–and a whole lot more! It remains opaque why the author finds Heyman’s use of WAR lacking in this instance though. I think I know, but who knows. If nothing else, this article unintentionally articulates the weakness of career-compiled WAR and the need for something like WAR totals with a denominator of “seasons” or “games.” If that is, in fact, a point, then Heyman’s tweet made it.
Also, I can’t tell if this story is a slam of short-lived Kirby, a slam of long-lived Cameron, or a slam of “leaner” times. It might also slam defense back in the day. EIther way,
Has nothing to do with me being a Yankee fan — the first thing that comes to mind for ARod, Clemens, Giambi, Pettitte, Knoblauch, etc. etc. is steroids — not their skills or production. That’s just the way it is. And none of them were even suspended.
Somewhere I have a picture of Mike Cameron at the first spring training game in 2000 wearing no. 8 before he traded with someone for 44. The really key thing about Cammie was he had to replace a legend; there is no better way to replace a legend than to make an over the fence catch taking a homer away from Derek Jeter in your fourth home game. From that moment on, he was just himself, not “the guy who was traded for Griffey.” Mariners fans loved the lemonade made out of the lemon of Griffey’s trade demand.
Comment by Breadbaker — February 22, 2012 @ 5:27 am
I’ll always remember him for his balls to the wall style of play and for the collision in San Diego that forced him to get facial reconstructive surgery. The man played outfield and he played it as hard as he possibly could.
He was one of the more underrated players of our time–pretty good slugging, pretty average OBP and great defense in center. A joy to watch.
Comment by Mike Savino — February 22, 2012 @ 9:34 am
I’ll always remember him for the way the Mariners fell off a cliff in 2004 after they let him leave. He was a huge bargain for the team, but they failed to appreciate his strengths (defense, getting on base, power, and speed) and only focused on his weakness (striking out too much).
It is a counting stat, which naturally hamstrings players whose careers were ended.
Mike Cameron juiced every bit of talent out of his body, Kirby Puckett didn’t. Thus, HOF voters with any semblance of intellect extrapolated his career out.
So I don’t think it’s necessarily ‘sold by baseball intelligensia as that’. To put myself into that grouping, we think of it as a better counting stat, but obviously are aware that 50 WAR from a 10-year vet is TOTALLY different than one from a 20-year vet.
pettitte does not instantly inspire thoughts of steroids because he never took steroids. his crime was to get two doses of HGH to help him recover faster from an elbow injury. as in he took HGH while on the DL, never while playing. that’s a far cry from years and years of steroid abuse from the other guys you mentioned.
Comment by phoenix2042 — February 22, 2012 @ 12:55 pm
Mike Cameron was never suspended for steroids. He received a suspension for stimulants.
Mike Cameon is just one of those situations where the saber-fan will likely not be able to convince other fans of his value because he did not have a big reputation, was overshadowed by some others, and did some things that aren’t always valued. In other words he wasn’t a HR and RBI guy or a player with a high BA.
In situations like these the saber-fan has to just be content knowing he had value whether others see it or not.
Also, we often interpret playing for a lot of teams as being “unwanted” where I see it as teams wanted to acquire him as a starter, but not necessarily their long-term solution at CF.
My favorite Mike Cameron moment (Brewers fan) was in some game where a high fly ball was hit to center field in Miller Park. I was watching Mike Cameron and he was headed toward the ball so smoothly as if it was a lazy fly ball for an easy catch. Instead, he effortlessly jumped in the direction of the angled CF wall at MP and robbed the batter of a home run. No panic, no rush, no miss jump, he just timed it all perfectly from the start and made a home run robbery so easy that I was shocked the catch turned out to be so difficult. Even in his late 30s, he still played CF as if he knew he could cover the whole area.
I just watched the Jeter robbery highlight, he looked exactly the same with the Brewers. Amazed to see his defensive skills carry on into his later years.