Coach Mike Cameron Heads to Cooperstown for Larkin Induction
June 28, 2012Cincinnati Moeller High School
Larkin the 1st of Cameron's Cooperstown crew
11:58 AM, Jun. 28, 2012 |
KENWOOD — In September 2011, one of the Cincinnati Reds’ official scorers made reservations for this year’s Baseball Hall of Fame inductions in Cooperstown, N.Y. It proved to be a wise move as that weekend typically books up well in advance.
You would expect as much from a veteran like Mike Cameron, who before writing “6-4-3” in Reds scorebooks was watching double plays as Moeller High School’s head coach for 39 years (1969-2007).
One of his Crusaders was Barry Larkin, who will be inducted in July along with former Cubs great Ron Santo.
Leave it to a manager to take advantage of a good scouting tip.
“I talked to George Grande, who for 30 years was the MC of the Hall of Fame,” Cameron said. “I saw him at a Reds game and I said, ‘What do you think?’ He said, ‘I think he’s in. Go ahead and make your reservations.’”
Soon, Cameron will head for the mountains of New York state along with a couple of his former assistants to watch a guy they met 35 years ago become baseball royalty. He first encountered Barry Larkin in the late 1970s when his older brother Mike was a Moeller football player.
“I was never thinking that I’d coach a Hall of Fame player, especially back in the ‘80s,” Cameron said. “You could tell right away that Barry was a very talented athlete. He played all three sports up until his senior year.”
At Moeller, Larkin started for three years, which is a rarity for Crusader baseball. He also was a ferocious hitter at defensive back on the gridiron, by all accounts.
“He definitely could’ve played college football,” Cameron said. “I had the good fortune of coaching Barry for three years on the football team also. I was secondary coach, so I coached him six different times.”
Having visited Cooperstown before, Cameron is looking forward to this next trip and then another in 2016 when Ken Griffey Jr. is a likely first-ballot inductee.
“It’s going to be very special this time to see an induction of someone you know, much less someone you coached,” Cameron said. “It’s hard to believe.”
For the record, he has not made the 2016 reservations just yet, but he’s amazed to be a part of what would seemingly be a small circle of high school coaches who have coached multiple Hall of Famers.
“I’m going to wait a little bit on that,” Cameron said laughing. “I’m just really proud of both of them, the way they conducted their careers.”
A veteran of four state titles (’72, ‘89, ‘93, ‘04), 10 district titles and five regional crowns, Cameron still stays busy on non-Reds days as an assistant at Moeller. He has worked with both the freshman and junior varsity teams in recent years and was pleased to see former assistant Tim Held lead the Crusaders to their sixth state title last month in Columbus.
“It’s always exciting because there’s new coaches that are doing it for the first time,” Cameron said. “It’s very, very rewarding to see the program keep evolving under Tim.”
Larkin will give his induction speech July 22 in Cooperstown where his former coach will likely score it a hit.