MLB's 10 Greatest Center Fielders of All Time
10. Andruw Jones
Andruw is not just one of the greatest defensive outfielders of all time, but one of the greatest at any position. So far in 13 years, he has a .259 average, a .339 on base percentage, 371 home runs, 1131 RBI's, 1066 runs scored, 1716 base hits and 138 stolen bases. He has been selected to the All-Star game five times and has won one Silver Slugging Award in the 2005 season.
He won ten consecutive Gold Glove awards from the 1998 season until the 2007 season. His best season came in 2005 when he finished second in the MVP voting. In that season, he had a .263 average, a .347 on base percentage, 51 home runs, 128 RBI's and 95 runs scored. He led the NL in both homers and RBI's that season. Overall, even though he had a pathetic year this past season, he is only 31 years old and should have a few more good seasons.
9. Kirby Puckett
Puckett was one of the most all around players ever. In his short 12 year career, he had a .318 average, 207 home runs, 1085 RBI's, 1071 runs scored, 2304 base hits and 134 stolen bases. He was selected to the All Star team ten times, starting at center field in two of them and he won the Silver Slugging Award six times.
He was also a great defensive player as he won six Gold Glove awards in a seven year stretch. He won one batting title and led the league in RBI's once. Finally, he was a winner as he led the Twins to two championships in the 1987 and 1991 seasons, winning the ALCS MVP award in 1991.
8. Bernie Williams
Williams was one of the most underrated Yankees ever. In his 16 year career with the Yankees, he had a .297 average, a .380 on base percentage, 287 home runs, 1257 RBI's, 1366 runs scored, 2336 base hits, 449 doubles and 147 stolen bases. He was selected to the All Star team five times, starting at center field once.
He was also one of the best defensive outfielders as he won four consecutive Gold Glove awards from the 1997 season until the 2000 season. He won one Silver Slugging Award in 2002 and won the batting title in 1998 as he had a .339 average. Finally, he is one of the biggest winners and best postseason performers ever as he won four championships and had 22 home runs and 80 RBI's in his playoff career.
7. Duke Snider
Snider was one of the greatest power hitters ever. In his 18 year career, he had a .295 average, a .380 on base percentage, 407 home runs, 1333 RBI's, 1259 runs scored, 2116 base hits and 99 stolen bases. He was selected to the All Star game eight times, starting in center field in two of them.
He led the league in home runs once, runs scored three times and RBI's once. His best season came in 1955 as he had a .309 average, 42 home runs, 136 RBI's, 126 runs scored and 9 stolen bases as he finished second in the MVP voting. Finally, he led the Dodgers to the World Series six times, winning two of them in 1955 and 1959.
6. Tris Speaker
Speaker was one of the greatest pure hitters to ever play the game. In his long 22 year career, he had a .345 average, 117 home runs, 1529 RBI's, 1882 runs scored, 3514 base hits, 792 doubles, 222 triples and 432 stolen bases. He had one batting title, four on base % titles, one slugging percentage title and one OPS title.
He ranks fifth all time in total hits, sixth all time in total triples and is the all time leader in career doubles. His best season came in 1912 when he won his only MVP award. In that season, he had a .383 average, 10 home runs, 90 RBI's, 136 runs scored and 52 stolen bases. Finally, he won three championships, two with the Red Sox and one with the Indians.
5. Ty Cobb
I know many people will be surprised with Cobb being ranked fifth on this list as he is ranked in the top five in several all time lists for all positions, not just center field. However, I would take all of the four players I have ranked higher than him on this list in their prime over Cobb in his prime. In his 24 year career, he had a .366 career average, 117 home runs, 1937 RBI's, 2246 runs scored, 4189 base hits, 724 doubles, 295 triples and 892 stolen bases.
He won a record eleven batting titles, seven on base percentage titles, eight slugging percentage titles and ten OPS titles. He ranks second all time in hits and runs, fourth in doubles, second in triples, seventh in RBI's and fourth in stolen bases.
He won the MVP award in 1911 as he had a .420 average, eight home runs, 127 RBI's, 147 runs scored and 83 stolen bases. However, he was an average defensive player at best, he never won a championship and he was one of the biggest jerks in the history of sports.
4. Joe Dimaggio
Dimaggio was one of the greatest offensive players in the history of the league. In his short 13 year career, he had a .325 average, 361 home runs, 1537 RBI's, 1390 runs scored, 2214 base hits, 389 doubles and 131 triples. He was selected to the All Star team thirteen times, starting in center field in six of them. He had two batting titles, two home runs titles and two RBI titles.
He won three MVP awards with his best season coming in 1939 as he had a .381 average, 30 home runs, 126 RBI's and 108 runs scored in only 120 games played. He led his team to the World Series an amazing ten times, winning the championship nine times. Finally, while his stats are already amazing they would've been much better as he missed over three years of his prime as he had to serve in World War II.
3. Ken Griffey Jr.
Personally, I would take Griffey's ten-year stretch in the entire 90's over anyone else's prime. So far in his 20 year career, he has a .288 average, a .373 on base percetage, 611 home runs, 1772 RBI's, 1612 runs scored, 2680 base hits, 503 doubles and 184 stolen bases. He has been selected to the All Star team thirteen times, starting in center field in eight of them and he won the Silver Slugging award seven times.
He is a fantastic defensive player as he won ten consecutive Gold Glove awards from 1990 until 1999. He led the league in home runs four times, in runs once, and in RBI's once. His best season was in 1997 as he won his only MVP award. In that season, he had a .304 average, 56 home runs, 147 RBI's, 125 runs scored and 15 stolen bases. However, several injuries have hurt his career ever since he signed with the Reds.
2. Mickey Mantle
Mantle is one of the most iconic players in the history of baseball. In his 18 year career, he had a .298 average, a .421 on base percentage, 536 home runs, 1509 RBI's, 1677 runs scored, 2415 base hits and 153 stolen bases. He was selected to the All Star team an amazing twenty times, starting in center field in twelve of them. He won four home run titles, six runs scored titles and one RBI title.
He won three MVP awards and finished second in the voting three times. His best season came in 1956 as he won the Triple Crown and his first MVP award. In that season, he had a .353 average, a .464 on base percentage, a .705 slugging percentage, 52 home runs, 130 home runs, 132 runs scored and 10 stolen bases. Finally, he was a solid defensive player as he won a Gold Glove award in 1962 and he led the Yankees to the World Series an amazing twelve times, winning it all seven times.
1. Willie Mays
Mays is the most all around player in the history of the game. In his 22 year career, he had a .302 average, a .384 on base percentage, 660 home runs, 1903 RBI's, 2062 runs scored, 3283 base hits, 523 doubles, 140 triples and 338 stolen bases. He was selected to the All Star team an unheard of 24 times, starting in center field 18 times. He won one batting titles, two on base percentage titles and four home run titles.
On top of all that, he is arguably the greatest defensive player of all time. Even though the Gold Glove award started five to six years into his career, he still won twelve consecutive Gold Glove awards from the 1957 season until the 1968 season.
He won two MVP awards and his best season came in 1955 as he had a .319 average, 51 home runs, 127 RBI's, 123 runs scored and 24 stolen bases. He led his teams to the World Series four times, winning one in 1954 as a member of the Giants.
Finally, he missed nearly two seasons of his prime because he had to serve in the military.
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