Quick hits: Mike Cameron

February, 22, 2010
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Six quick hits on Mike Cameron, the new Red Sox center fielder:

1. Call in the archeologists: Cameron remembers Terry Francona when he still had hair.

Cameron was an 18-year-old newly drafted by the White Sox in 1991, when his first manager in rookie ball was Francona.

“There are a lot of [staff members] here I know,’’ Cameron said. “I played against Alex [Ochoa], [Gary] DiSarcina. Tom Goodwin, I went, ‘Wow.’ So automatically that makes me know I’m getting old, but [there’s] the joy and beauty of still having the opportunity to play major league baseball. It kind of dawned on me walking in the outfield. Man, I get a chance to do it all over again.’’

2. All in the upbringing: The Red Sox are Cameron’s seventh big-league team. Why has he seemingly been able to transition so seamlessly from team to team?

“I just try to be who I am,’’ he said. “I was raised to be a man long before I was raised to be a major-league baseball player.’’

3. Ancient history: Yes, Cameron said, he’s heard all the stories, including the one published here in which it was noted that only one team with a regular center fielder 37 or older had won a World Series, the 1945 Tigers with Doc Cramer.

“I’ve got a responsibility to try to maintain the balance mentally and physically to play the game here,’’ he said. “I just think I try to do the best I can to take care of my body. I know Father Time will come and push you in different directions. I’ve been very fortunate to maintain and hold it off a little bit.’’

4. Dock of the Bay: Cameron admits he didn’t think the Red Sox would sign him.

“Theo was adamant about the opportunity to play here, but as a baseball player you understand and know Jason Bay had a really good year and probably would be back, so I didn’t think I’d be coming here. Turns out I got a blessing to be here, and I relish the opportunity.’’

5. Dustined off: Cameron was told that Dustin Pedroia predicted he would hit “a ton of bombs” here.

“Tell him what I said,’’ Pedroia said. “I said he’s been hitting 25 home runs a year for the last 35 years.’’

6. Where it all began: Cameron made his big-league debut on Aug. 27, 1995. He batted second for the White Sox, between Tim Raines and Frank Thomas, and went 0 for 4 against the Toronto Blue Jays. Mike Timlin pitched in that game for the Jays. No one else who played in that game is still in the big leagues.

Gordon Edes

ESPN Staff Writer



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