Blog Entry

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Posted on: May 9, 2009 4:09 pm
Welcome back everyone.  This time around we'll get to vote on the greatest center fielder of all time.  Before we get around to that, its time to announce the winner of the left field vote.   Ted Williams won the vote running away by receiving 16 of the 26 votes that were cast.   Stan Musual who got much mention and praise finished second with 4 votes.  Rickey Henderson received 3 votes, Barry Bonds got 2 votes and Ed Delahanty captured the other vote.   Had I had a vote, I would have honestly had to vote for Barry Bonds.  Although I personally don't recognize his single season record of 73 homers or his career record of 762, he was still the best without the juice.  Even if you throw out the home runs, he still had Ted beat in speed and defense.  Barry would also make a good leadoff hitter for an all-time team with his 500+ career stolen bases and OBP well above .400.   Ted Williams was an amazing player and probably the best pure hitter of all time.  With the steroid factor going for Bonds padding his numbers, Ted undoubtedly lost over 700 hits, perhaps 150 homers and over 400 RBI due to time in the service.   All I can say is you folks did an excellent job of stating your cases when you cast your votes.   I think left field will be the most star-studded pack of any position.   I apologize for not including Shoeless Joe Jackson on the list.  He was banned from baseball at the age of 31, probably unfairly in my opinion.  I think he was the baby that got thrown out with the bath water in the Black Sox scandal. 

I've made a list of the 18 greatest center fielders of all-time.   17 of them are in the hall of fame and one is still an active player.   This list should also induce some good discussion as a number to top centerfielders span over 110 years of baseball history.   In giving fielding statistics, I've been giving a +/- grading comparing each fielder to his peers over the span of their careers to be fair to the old timers when the gloves were smaller, the playing surfaces were more challenging and the official scorers more strict on charging errors.   That works out great most of the time, but there is something else to take into consideration.   In recent years, the major league average for fielding percentages for outfielders now are in the neighborhood of .985 - .990.   So this would make it impossible for modern day centerfielders such as Griffey and Puckett to attain a +.22 fielding percentage grade like Hugh Duffy got because the MLB average that Duffy had to compete against was .921.   Well, I think I've done enough blabbering, on with the list....

PLAYER                                 AVE/OBP/SLUG        HR      RBI      Runs       SB         Fldg +/-        Range +/-

Richie Ashburn                       308/397/462          29       586      1322       234       -.02              +.43
Earl Averill                             318/395/534          238     1164     1224       70         +.02             +.29
Max Carey                             285/361/386          70       800      1545       738       +.03             +.60
Ty Cobb                                366/433/512          117     1937     2246       892       +.01             +.25
Earle Combs                          325/397/462          58       632      1186        96         +.07             +.30
Joe Dimaggio                         325/398/579          361     1537    1390        30         +.04             +.40
Larry Doby                             283/387/490          253     969       960         47         +.07             +.05
Hugh Duffy                            324/384/449          106      1302    1552        574       +.22             +.12
Billy Hamilton                         344/455/432          40       736      1690        912       +.03             +.26
Mickey Mantle                         298/423/557          536     1509     1677       153       +.02             -.05
Willie Mays                             302/387/557          660     1903     2062       338       even             +.25
Kirby Puckett                           318/363/477         207      1085     1071       134       +.04             +.28
Edd Roush                              323/369/446          68       981       1099      268        +.07             +.37
Duke Snider                            295/381/540         407      1333     1259       99         even             -.33
Tris Speaker                           345/428/500          117      1529     1882      432        +.10             +.60
Lloyd Waner                           316/353/393           27       598       1201      67          +.10             +.47
Hack Wilson                            307/395/545          244     1062      884        52         -.06              -.02
Ken Griffey Jr.                         287/372/545          613      1777     1622      184        -.01              +.11

There's the list, have at ladies and gentlemen!
Category: MLB

Since: Feb 18, 2009
Posted on: May 15, 2009 7:16 am

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

I'm going to vote for Tris Speaker.  Alot of you have pointed out how many games that Mays lost to the service and how many games Mantle and Griffey missed due to injury, but when Speaker played, the seasons were only 152 to 154 games, so he had to play when the seasons were 8-10 games shorter.   Speaker also had the second best OBP of all centerfielders and if you mix his fielding percentage with his range, he was arguably the best defensive centerfielder of them all.  He did lead the league in home runs once in the dead ball era, so despite his 117 career home runs, he was among the best power hitters in his era.  He also managed a considerable amount of time DURING his playing days, so he had the added distraction of making game decisions for the rest of the team and had to concern himself with more than just his own game.  Speaker is the one out of this bunch that I'd want. 

Since: Sep 30, 2007
Posted on: May 14, 2009 10:17 pm

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Cobb had better average, Mays more power............ands Willie was the best defensive outfielder in history. Say Hey gets my vote!

Since: Jan 9, 2009
Posted on: May 14, 2009 11:26 am

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Ken Griffey Jr.

Along with Willie Mays, he has the best stats across the board and he's still going. He's also a fantastic defensive player - he won the Golden Glove every single year of the 1990s along with his 7 Silve Slugger awares and 13 All star appearances.

I love the way he plays the game, he doesn't swagger like Manny, he's come through the steroid era unscathed unlike the other big shots who chased 60 homers in a season during the mid-1990s, and he's got a sterling attitude - he cares more about defense and helping his team than swinging from the heels to get another HR.

The Kid should definitely be in the consideration for the greatest CF of all time!

Since: Dec 13, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2009 8:04 pm
This comment has been removed.

Post Deleted by Administrator

Since: Nov 13, 2008
Posted on: May 13, 2009 12:23 pm

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

My vote goes to Dom DiMaggio. 

Since: Oct 12, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2009 4:02 pm

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Gotta go with the Say Hey Kid, Willie Mays. Great numbers, great guy.

Another wonderful job, Lazer!

Since: Feb 19, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2009 2:42 pm

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

hey lazer

tough list - but i would vote for wille mays
across the board offensively is at or near the top in every category
and his defense was amazing as well
my favorite old clip is willie making a running, over the shoulder catch then spinning and firing the ball in
what a player

thanks for this blog - as always, you do a great job

Since: Feb 11, 2007
Posted on: May 12, 2009 5:13 am

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Another great list of athletes Laser. Since there are so many eras and players to choose from, I have to go with the one who dominated the era he played in. My vote will go to Ty Cobb.  He led the American League 11 times in batting average, and is the all-time career leader in batting average at .366. He led the league 7 times in On Base Percentage. He led the league 8 times in Slugging Percentage. He was 1st in Total Bases once, 1st in hits 8 times, 1st in Doubles 3 times, 1st in Triples 4 times, and 1st in Home Runs only once (with 9- that Dead Ball Era thing). He was also 1st in RBIs 4 times and led the league in Stolen Bases 6 times and won the Triple Crown in 1909 and AL MVP in 1911.

Since: May 25, 2008
Posted on: May 12, 2009 2:19 am

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

First let me say Lazer, you do an amazing job at these "best" blogs, props to your hard work bro!

Now also, I feel very very very very stupid for not realizing that Ty Cobb was a center fielder! Whoops!!!

Now to my vote, I will have to say the greatest of all time is Ken Griffey,Jr. Barring injuries he would be well over 700 homeruns and probably be challenging the Career Homerun mark this year. He was a great defensive player,and a great stealer. As good as all the other center fielders on this list are, I think Griffey is the overwhelmingly most talented.

Since: May 4, 2009
Posted on: May 12, 2009 1:33 am

Vote For the Greatest CENTER FIELDER of All Time

Sentimentally, Ty Cobb's son was my first doctor after birth, so you would think I should vote for him, but Dr. Ty, Jr. hated his dad for beating up his mom and drinking all the time, and I grew up in a different era, so he is third place for me.  #3 Cobb, #2 the magnificent and enduring Mr. Willie Mays and #1, who had only slightly less heart than Roger Maris, is Mickey Mantle.  It was one of the greatest thrills of a girl from Georgia to see him, Maris, Elston Howard, Tony Kubek, Bobby Richardson, and Yogi Berra at the real Yankee Stadium in the early 60's.  Thank you, Dad, I love you! and God hold you really close in heaven tonight!

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