It’ll be good to see Mike Cameron around Fenway Park next season, Frankly, it’s good to see him alive.
I was covering the Mets on Aug. 11, 2005 at Petco Park in San Diego when David Ross hit a sinking liner to the gap in right field. Cameron was playing right field and Carlos Beltran was in center. Running full speed, they each dove for the ball and collided head first.
The video is here if you want to watch it.
It was one of those collisions when everybody in the park was quiet. You knew it was bad, even from the distance of the press box. But when left fielder Cliff Floyd sprinted over, he turned away and blessed himself. First baseman Marlon Anderson arrived moments later summoned for help. Anderson later said he felt like a paramedic arriving at a car accident.
Beltran crawled away, dazed, But Cameron barely moved as blood gushed from his face. The trainer rolled him over on side, fearful that Cameron would choke on his own blood. “Just breathe,” Anderson implored him. “Just breathe.”
Cameron was stabilized on a stretcher by EMTs, rushed to a local hospital and put in intensive care.
Beltran seemed OK after the game and started to speak to a handful of beat writers. But he didn’t remember a thing and was not able to focus his eyes. We mentioned this to the trainer and was taken to the hospital as well and spent the night. He was lucky, he came away with a concussion, a sore shoulder and a small fracture in his face.
Cameron needed surgery to repair fractured bones in his face and didn’t play again that season. When he returned to the team for a visit, he literally did not look like the same person, so swollen and misshapen was his face. But after a while, he was OK and when he returned to the field in 2006, he was the same player.
Now, after four solid seasons, Cameron has agreed to terms with the Red Sox and will take a physical today. Good luck to him.
Interesting take here from Fangraphs a month ago suggesting that Cameron is a better all-around player than Bay. Maybe Theo Epstein had it tacked up on his bulletin board?