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Mets spread holiday cheer
12/15/2004 9:42 PM ET
NEW YORK -- Mike Cameron stepped off the elevator and into Shea Stadium's Diamond Club on Wednesday morning, laughing and proclaiming that everyone should have a Merry Christmas.

Not one of the 100 or so children that were there waiting for him, however, ran over to get an autograph. That's because Cameron, decked out in a white beard and a red suit, was disguised as Santa Claus, dressed up as part of the Mets' annual holiday party for local school children.

Students from six New York City schools -- P.S. 92 in Manhattan, P.S. 92 in the Bronx, P.S. 35 in Queens, P.S. 16 on Staten Island and P.S. 329 and 224 in Brooklyn -- were on hand. The youngsters sang Christmas carols and were treated to lunch and snacks before getting the chance to sit on Santa's lap. After hearing what each child wanted for Christmas, Santa gave out a present, which brought a boat load of smiles to all in attendance.

"I think this is cool," Cameron said. "It's an opportunity to reach out at a special time and give something back."

Cameron rang his bell and tried to keep his beard from falling off so the youngsters wouldn't know it was him, but smiled when he noted that they had probably never a seen a Santa like him anyway.

Even general manager Omar Minaya got into the act, hugging Santa before telling him he wished he had "another outfielder just like you" for Christmas.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.


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