White Sox Draft Countdown: Top 10 picks from past 25 years (#5)
The next guy on our list hardly spent any time in the Windy City with the White Sox, as Chicago would be the first of eight different stops throughout his 17-year career. Oddly enough, this player may be more remembered by White Sox fans for the guy he was eventually traded for, but nonetheless, he certainly had one heck of a career.
Up next on our countdown…..
#5: Mike Cameron: 1991 18th rd pick (488th overall)
Mike Cameron was drafted by the Chicago White Sox in the 18th round of the 1991 MLB Draft. The speedy center fielder spent a little over four years in the minors until he made his big league debut on August 27, 1995. Over the course of the remainder of the season, Cameron would play in 28 games and hit .228. The following season, he would again split time between Chicago and the minors–only playing in 11 games. He got his first real taste of MLB action in 1997. Cameron played in 116 games during that season and launched 14 homers while driving in 55 runs. He also would show off his speed on the base paths, by stealing 23 bases. In 1998, we would see Cameron’s numbers take a dip, as he only hit .210 with eight homers and 43 RBI in 141 games. Though, he did manage to steal four more bases despite the offensive struggles. Unlike most of the players on this list, Cameron did not make a name for himself while playing for the White Sox. 1998 marked his final season in Chicago, as he was traded to the Reds for what turned to be one of the best players in franchise history–Paul Konerko. Cameron would only spend one season in Cincinnati, and he would see his numbers climb to a respectable mark. He hit .256 with 21 home runs and 66 runs batted in during the 1999 season. Cameron also stole 38 bases that year, which ranked fifth in the National League. After the turn of the millennium, Cameron would once again be involved in a trade. This time, he was sent out to Seattle in a package for Ken Griffey Jr. His numbers would continue to rise in his first season as a Mariner, in which he also got his first taste of the postseason. But, it was 2001 that really saw Cameron’s coming out party. The Seattle team he played for boasted names like Ichiro Suzuki, Edgar Martinez, Brett Boone, and Jamie Moyer. The Mariners that season won 116 games—more than any other team in MLB history. With all of his team’s success, Cameron also saw vast improvement at the dish. He recorded his best power numbers to that point in his career with 25 homers and 110 RBI. 2001 marked the only year that he surpassed 90 runs batted in. He also stole 30+ bases for the second time in three seasons and earned his only career all-star appearance. When the season was all said and done, Cameron would finish 16th in the A.L. MVP voting and be rewarded with his first of three career Gold Gloves. Cameron’s last two seasons in Seattle would not see the same success, as he averaged .246 at the plate–combining for 43 HR, 156 RBI and only 48 SB. He would sign on with the Mets for the 2004 season, and he would set a career high in home runs with 30. Those numbers would drop a bit the following season, which would be his last in New York. Cameron was traded for the third time in his career in November 2005, as he was shipped to San Diego for Xavier Nady. After a down year the season before, Cameron would have a resurgent 2006, as he hit .268 with 22 home runs and 83 RBI. He’d spend one more year out west before landing with the Brewers in 2008. Despite being in his mid-30’s, Cameron still was very productive from 2006-2009. He totaled 92 homers and 301 ribbies in those four seasons with a .251 average. The final two seasons of his career would take place in Boston and Florida, but he would only play in 126 games. Mike Cameron last played in the majors at age 38 with the Marlins. He finished off his 17-year career with 278 homers, 960 runs batted in, 297 stolen bases and a lifetime average of .249. Very rarely in the game of baseball do you see someone possess a mix of power and speed. That is exactly what Mike Cameron could boast, and he did so for seventeen seasons. Indeed, the glory years of his career will be remembered more so in Seattle and San Diego, but many forget that it began in the mid-nineties as a member of the White Sox. Any true Chicago fan, at the very least, will remember him as the guy traded for franchise icon Paul Konerko. In a rare instance, it is safe to say that while the trade certainly worked out for the White Sox, Mike Cameron made out alright as well.
Only four spots left on our countdown. We reveal two more tomorrow.
Top 10 White Sox draft picks from past 25 years
#10: Addison Reed
#9: James Baldwin
#8: Joe Crede
#7: Chris Sale
#6: Aaron Rowand
#5: Mike Cameron
#2: JUNE 5
#1: JUNE 6 (DRAFT DAY!)