Buried in the abyss that was the three-game sweep the Brewers suffered at the hands of the Twins in their final visit to the plastic bubble was a historic event that won't receive much attention.
Mike Cameron, known for his Gold Glove defense and some pop with his bat, become the 20th member of the 250-250 club when he cracked his 250th homer Sunday. Cameron will go down in baseball history as one of those quietly appreciated players. Sure, he has grabbed his share of headlines, but he never has been the best player at his position.
So what if he isn't a Hall of Fame-caliber player. Being just below that level isn't a bad thing.
Accumulating 250 homers and 250 steals (he is actually at 291 swipes) is quite the accomplishment. While never hitting for average (Cam is a .251 career hitter with a peak of .273 with the Mets in 2005), he has been a middle-of-the-order guy because of his power and run production (878 career RBIs).
One important ingredient he has brought to the Crew — in addition to his stellar defense — is his leadership. Everyone knows the Brewers have produced much of their everyday lineup through their farm system and while guys such as Prince Fielder and Ryan Braun can do a lot to lead, there has to be a Yoda-like figure that provides the wisdom to the young guys. Cameron is that guy.
And don't discount the color issue. The Brewers have one of the largest number of black players on their roster (Cameron, Fielder, the injured Rickie Weeks, Bill Hall). The population of blacks on major-league rosters has dwindled with the influx of Latin American and Asian players (in 1995, 19% of big-leaguers were black; this year, 10.9% of big-leaguers on the opening-day roster were black).
Cameron has been a steadying influence on the Crew's young players and being a great teammate is one reason he will go down as a player people should remember.
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Written by Steve Drumwright