Asheville – Cameron Maybin, known as an outstanding base stealer and an enthusiastic teammate, finished his major league baseball career of a decade and a half when retiring earlier this month.
The 2005 T.C. Roberson grad was the highest drafted local baseball prospect ever — going tenth overall to the Detroit Tigers in ‘05. His awards during high school and travel team play include as Baseball America Youth Player of the Year and MVP of the Connie Mack World Series, both in 2004, then in ‘05 making the All-USA Today National Baseball Team.
Scouts compared his very quick power-generating wrist swing to that of Hall of Famer Vladimir Guerrero. Maybin hit for power, stole many bases and had a strong arm in the outfield as a Roberson Ram. In the MLB, he had the arm to play right field and speed to cover center field. He is large for a noted base stealer at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds. He played for ten MLB clubs. His 35th birthday is April 4.
Through his foundation, Maybin Mission, Cameron provided Christmas meals and gifts to local disadvantaged youth for a few years.
Maybin said he wants to get involved with Players’ Alliance efforts to expand opportunities for Black players in MLB. He wants to share “life lessons” with emerging players. He signed off his tweet announcing his retirement on Jan. 3 with “With Gratitude, Cameron Maybin.”
‘Love for Baseball’
After dedicating 88 percent of his lifetime thus far to the American pastime, Maybin decided it is time to hang up his cleats and devote more time to his family.
“I’ve played this game since I was four years old,” he tweeted. “Three decades later, my love for baseball is only matched by the love I have for the family that’s supported me every step of the way. I am the man I am today because of this game, and the teams that gave a young kid from Asheville, North Carolina a chance to be great.”
Maybin addressed himself, in his retirement tweet. “To the four-year-old ‘Killa Cam,’ you did it, man. You never stopped believing in yourself, even when others didn’t believe in you.”
Maybin never put it all together to reach his potential. He often missed games due to injury. He played at least 135 of the 162 games merely three times — in 2011 and ’12 with San Diego, then in ’15 in Atlanta.
But Cam Maybin had a few outstanding seasons — among his 15 in the majors. In 2016 he was at his best by batting .315 for Detroit in two-thirds of a season, with an on-base percentage of .383.
He restrained his swing for more contact then. His on-base mark soared from .309 for his first seven seasons to .340 for the next five years. He averaged an .323 OBP, and batted .254 overall in MLB.
Swinging more for the fences, Maybin clubbed a personal best, 11 homers in a half-season in 2019, when batting .285 with the New York Yankees.
Deluxe Base Stealer
Maybin swiped 187 bases with a success rate of 77 percent — being safe at the next base in better than three of our attempts. Indeed, he will be most remembered for stealing bases — 40 in ’11, 33 in ‘17 when second best in the American League, and 23 or more four other times.
When pro-rated over a full 162-game season, he averages 10 HR, 78 runs, 26 steals and eight times thrown out stealing.
His base stealing skill made him a valuable acquisition in trades — often. He changed teams ten times. Maybin had three different stints with the Tigers. That is a record for the 121-year-old original A.L. franchise. Each stint was for merely one season — in 2007, 2016 and the start of 2020. He played two different times for the Marlins.
Cameron Maybin was notably dealt to the Marlins for future Hall of Famer Miguel Cabrera in a blockbuster trade in the 2007-08 off-season. Maybin was the Tigers’ top hitting prospect. The team also parted with their top young pitcher, lefty UNC alum Andrew Miller whose solid career still persists.
Another trade paid off the most for Maybin. He went to contender Houston from the Angels, ahead of the stretch run in 2017. Maybin was a reserve as the Astros won the 2017 World Series — albeit with a notorious pitching sign stealing, drum-banging (as signals) cloud.
Still, this was the pinnacle of Maybin’s career. He told The Tribune soon after winning that title that it felt both “exciting” and “humbling” to finally become a champion. He said “I’ve done my time,” after a decade in the big leagues without even reaching playoffs.
Taking Roger Deep
Rudy and Renee Maybin’s son debuted in MLB at age 20 in 2007, merely two years after Detroit drafted him. His first series was at historic Yankee Stadium, where more than 50,000 fans cheered the other team loudly.
Maybin faced NYY ace Roger Clemens. He swung mightily and connected with the barrel of the bat for a loud thud. Maybin recalled he drove out a “bomb” of a home run, for his first MLB hit.
Son Trent’s Turn
Cameron Maybin’s prized baseball pupils are his three children – teen Trent, Max and Laila. Wife Courtney Maybin owns Beauty Bin spa.
The extended Maybin family sports several star pros and collegians. Cam’s distant cousins include three who played in the NFL — linebackers Aaron Maybin and Jalen Reeves-Maybin, and Asheville Cougar running back John Avery who starred for ‘Ole Miss and the CFL.