Groz Remembers ’01 Mariners: Mike Cameron pulls off the impossible

Aug 18, 2021, 11:51 AM
Mariners Mike Cameron...
Mike Cameron came to Seattle in the trade that sent Ken Griffey Jr. to the Reds. (Getty)

2001: A Baseball Odyssey – a weekly look back at the record-setting 2001 Mariners and the players who made them who they were.

Feb. 10, 2000: A sad day, or so it seemed, for the Seattle Mariners.

Salk: M’s have Baseball America’s top system, but how do they capitalize?

After refusing to sign a contract extension and telling the Mariners there was only one team he’d accept a trade to – his hometown Cincinnati Reds – the M’s swallowed hard and did the deed. Four players came back from the Reds, including Griffey’s at least temporary replacement in center field, Mike Cameron.

Cammy had spent 5 years with the White Sox before going to the Reds and having a pretty good 1999 season. But replace Griffey? The Kid? Good luck.

Well, Cameron needed all of six games to show what he could do in the field, robbing Derek Jeter of a home run in front of the home crowd at Safeco Field.

Cameron went on to have solid first season with Seattle, setting the stage for 2001. Cameron was an All-Star that year, hitting 25 home runs, stealing 34 bases and driving in 110 runs while winning a Gold Glove.

He had a special night again at the expense of the Yankees on Aug. 19 in the Bronx. Tough lefty Andy Pettite never had a chance as Cammy belted a three-run homer off him in the first. Then after an RBI single in the fifth, he blasted a grand slam in the seventh, capping off a 4-for-4 day with eight RBIs as the Mariners cruised to a 10-2 win and their 89th win of the season.

Cameron had a terrific four years in Seattle with the All-Star nod and two Gold Gloves plus a pair of 20-30 seasons. In May 2002, he had a four-homer game against the White Sox, all solo shots and in his first four at-bats. Cameron went on to have a fine 17-year career with eight clubs, but he will always be a fan favorite in Seattle for doing what seems impossible: replacing Ken Griffey Jr.

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More 2001 Mariners memories from Groz

Kazuhiro Sasaki, Mariners’ man of mystery
The infamous Cleveland comeback
When Ichiro became Ichiro
The curious case of Al Martin
• Freddy García replaces the ace he was traded for
• Kaz Sasaki and Seattle’s incredible bullpen
• Seattle hosts an All-Star Game for the ages
• The bounceback year of M’s Hall of Famer Dan Wilson
• Mark McLemore, the all-important 10th man
• Edgar Martinez cements his legacy with his last great season
• Aaron Sele, the pitcher who ‘fell from the sky’
• Bret Boone gave Seattle a huge, surprising boost
• Paul Abbott, the forgotten hero of the historic ’01 M’s
• Introduction: Celebrating the 2001 Mariners, 20 years later

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Groz Remembers ’01 Mariners: Mike Cameron pulls off the impossible