Cammie Tabbed for Opening Night Honor

Mike Cameron, the popular former Mariners outfielder, has agreed to throw out the ceremonial first pitch on Opening Night, Friday, April 13.

Cameron played for the Mariners for four seasons (2000-2003), endearing himself to fans with his hustle and blazing smile, and his trademark un-tucked shirttail immediately after the final out of each game.

Cameron came over to the Mariners in the trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to the Cincinnati Reds. And how does one follow a legend? Cameron wrote the book.

Mike Cameron spent a lot of time hanging above the wall in center field at Safeco Field. (Jed Jacobsohn/ALLSPORT)

Early in the 2000 season, fans were still trying to figure out who the new guy in center field was and how he could ever replace Griffey.

In the fourth game of the season, Friday, April 7, vs. the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter drove a pitch deep to center. Cameron started sprinting to the wall, made the leap, and came down with a perfect ice cream cone catch. At that moment, Seattle’s love affair with Cammie officially began, the crowd went crazy, and the pain of Griffey’s departure started to ease.

Cameron was a key member of the 2001 team that won an American League record 116 games. He started in the outfield at the All-Star Game at Safeco Field that season, and won his first of two American League Gold Gloves (the other in 2003). He and Mark McLemore were front and center in an iconic moment from that amazing season when they led teammates around the infield, carrying the American flag, after the team clinched the American League West Division title on September 19. Last year, the scene was immortalized as a bobblehead to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the 2001 season.

Cameron set a single game record for home runs with four longballs on May 2, 2002, against the Chicago White Sox. He hit the first off pitcher Jon Rauch and the next three off Jim Parque. In his final at-bat in the 9th inning, Cameron almost had #5 when he sent the right fielder to the wall to make the catch. The Mariners won that night 15-4, and Rauch and Parque were both optioned to the minors after the game.

Cameron’s 17-year Major League career ended on February 19, 2012. He played for seven teams other than the Mariners: the Chicago White Sox, Cincinnati Reds, New York Mets, San Diego Padres, Milwaukee Brewers, Boston Red Sox and Florida Marlins. He’d been invited to Spring Training by the Washington Nationals at the time of his retirement.

– RH

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