It is sad that mine, as well as many other Mets fans, most vivid memory is of that horrific outfield collision with Carlos Beltran in 2005 that could have ended Cameron's career. It was a sign of the way the guy played. He actually played six more seasons after that, most of them productive.
He was part of a couple of memorable trades. He was who the White Sox traded to the Reds for franchise player Paul Konerko. He was the centerpiece in the trade that moved Ken Griffey Jr out of Seattle and into Cincinnati.
When it comes down to rating Cameron as a player, it could be pointed out that he struck out a lot. But, there are some that strike out at a higher pace than Cameron. He was a very good power hitter, capable of giving you 20-25 homeruns in a given season; maxing out with 30 for the Mets in 2004. He played as good of a centerfield as anybody in the game. He was up there with Griffey, Beltran, Tori Hunter as capable of making any diving catch and could leap over the fence to take a HR away from anybody. He was also considered a solid teammate and a leader wherever he played. Thats what makes the reports of "conduct detrimental to the team" for the reason of him being released from the Florida Marlins at the end of last season seem shady or not believable.
The fairest player comparison I can make to Cameron is 1960s and '70s outfielder Jim Wynn. Wynn was a power hitter for the Astros for most of his career and considered by many to be the best player on the team. I think the career similarities when it comes to stats is remarkable. Cameron played for 17 seasons while Wynn played 15. Cameron finished hit career with 1665 hits, 278 HR and 968 RBI. Wynn had 1665 hits, 291 HR and 964 RBI. Cameron hit .249 while Wynn hit .250 for his career. Partially because of the increase in batters striking out in this generation, Cameron owns a significant lead when it comes to Ks (1901-1427). Wynn owns a slight lead in OPS .802-.782.
Very few players pass through the Mets organization and become one of my favorites. Its easy to say that about Mike Cameron. It was tough for Cameron how the Mets signed him to be their CF and a year later added Carlos Beltran. He did the right thing by moving to RF because Beltran was a better player in a more prime part of his career. But it did not prove that Cameron was no longer a CF. He played there for his two years in San Diego followed by his two seasons in Milwaukee. Though his last two seasons proved that he was near the end of the road, the game will miss his childlike smile. Its a shame many in the game today don't play the game like he did.