Vote for your MLB all-time starting lineup: Center fielders

Willie Mays (left), Mickey Mantle (center), Mike Trout (right). Photos: Wikimedia Commons, Reuters

By Joe Pantorno

Over the next two weeks, amNewYork Metro will be asking you, the readers, to help piece together Major League Baseball’s all-time starting lineup by voting who you think is the very best player at each position. 

Each day, you will be given a list of 10 players per position where you can choose one (1) option. 

Those looking to vote can submit their choices in several ways:

  • Leave your choice under the corresponding article on amNewYork Metro’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
  • Send your vote via email to sports editor Joe Pantorno at joseph.pantorno@metro.us
  • Reach out to Pantorno on Twitter @JoePantorno

In our eighth installment today, we take a look at 10 of the best center fielders in MLB history. 

Players up for consideration on our all-time center-fielders list had to play at least 1,000 career MLB games with a majority of them coming at the position.

We were left with 114 players who were put through the AMNewYork vacuum, which included:

  • Wins Above Replacement (WAR)
  • Batting average (BA)
  • On-base plus slugging percentage (OPS)
  • Home runs (HR)
  • Hits
  • Runs batted in (RBI)

Taking their ranks within each statistic, an average number was deciphered. The lower the average number was, the better their standing. 

Players with additional individual accolades, positive defensive metrics, and postseason successes were given an additional boost — allowing us to come to a list of 10 players that are considered the very best at their position.

Without further ado, here is today’s ballot for you to vote on, in alphabetical order:

 

Carlos Beltran

Years active: 1998-2017

Teams: Kansas City Royals, Houston Astros, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants, St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Texas Rangers

Stats: 70.1 WAR, .279 BA, .837 OPS, 2,725 hits, 435 HR, 1,587 RBI

AMNY average: 17.5

Accolades: 1999 AL Rookie of the Year, 9x All-Star, 3x Gold Glove, 2x Silver Slugger, 1x World Series

 

Ty Cobb

Years active: 1905-1928

Teams: Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Athletics

Stats: 151.0 WAR (4th all-time), .366 BA (1st all-time), .944 OPS (23rd all-time), 4,189 hits (2nd all-time), 117 HR, 1,944 RBI (9th all-time), 897 stolen bases

AMNY average: 10.3

Accolades: 1911 AL MVP, 1909 AL Triple Crown winner (.377, 9 HR, 107 RBI), 12x AL Batting Champion, Highest career batting average in MLB history, Batted over .400 three times including .419 in 1911, 16 seasons batting .350 or better, Hall of Fame

 

Joe DiMaggio

Years active: 1936-1942, 1946-1951

Team: New York Yankees

Stats: 79.1 WAR, .325 BA, .977 OPS (12th all-time), 2,214 hits, 361 HR, 1,537 RBI

AMNY average: 9

Accolades: 3x AL MVP (’39, ’41, ’47), 2x AL Batting Champion (’39, ’40), 13x All-Star, 9x World Series, MLB record 56-game hit streak in 1941, Lost three seasons to military service, Hall of Fame

 

Ken Griffey Jr.

Years active: 1989-2010

Teams: Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds, Chicago White Sox

Stats: 83.8 WAR, .284 BA, .907 OPS, 2,781 hits, 630 HR (7th all-time), 1,836 RBI (16th all-time)

AMNY average: 12

Accolades: 1997 AL MVP, 13x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, 7x Silver Slugger, 7 seasons with 40+ home runs, Hall of Fame

 

Mickey Mantle

Years active: 1951-1968

Team: New York Yankees

Stats: 110.2 WAR (16th all-time), .298 BA, .977 OPS (11th all-time), 2,415 hits, 536 HR (18th all-time), 1,509 RBI

AMNY average: 9.6

Accolades: 3x AL MVP (’56, ’57, ’62), 1956 AL Triple Crown winner (.353, 52 HR, 130 RBI), 20x All-Star, 7x World Series, 1x Gold Glove, Hall of Fame

 

Willie Mays

Years active: 1951-1973

Teams: New York/San Francisco Giants, New York Mets

Stats: 156.2 WAR (3rd all-time), .302 BA, .941 OPS (26th all-time), 3,282 hits (12th all-time), 660 HR (5th all-time), 1,903 RBI (12th all-time), 338 stolen bases

AMNY average: 4.6

Accolades: 1951 NL Rookie of the Year, 2x NL MVP (’54, ’65), 24x All-Star, 1954 NL Batting Champion, 12x Gold Glove, 1x World Series, Hall of Fame

 

Kirby Puckett

Years active: 1984-1995

Team: Minnesota Twins

Stats: 51.1 WAR, .318 BA, .837 OPS, 2,304 hits, 207 HR, 1,085 RBI

AMNY average: 21

Accolades: 10x All-Star, 1989 AL Batting Champion, 6x Gold Glove, 6x Silver Slugger, 2x World Series, Hall of Fame 

 

Duke Snider

Years active: 1947-1964

Teams: Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers, New York Mets, San Francisco Giants

Stats: 66.0 WAR, .295 BA, .919 OPS, 2,116 hits, 407 HR, 1,333 RBI

AMNY average: 15.6

Accolades: 8x All-Star, 2x World Series, 5-straight 40+ HR seasons (’53-’56), Hall of Fame

 

Tris Speaker

Years active: 1907-1928

Teams: Boston Red Sox, Cleveland Indians, Washington Senators, Philadelphia Athletics

Stats: 134.2 WAR (6th all-time), .345 BA (6th all-time), .928 OPS, 3,514 hits (5th all-time), 117 HR, 1,531 RBI, 436 stolen bases

AMNY average: 12.3

Accolades: 1912 AL MVP, 1916 AL Batting Champion (.386), 3x World Series, MLB all-time leader in doubles (792), 11 seasons batting .340 or better, 5 seasons batting .380 or better, Hall of Fame

 

Mike Trout

Years active: 2011-Present

Team: Los Angeles Angels

Stats: 72.8 WAR, .305 BA, 1.000 OPS (8th all-time), 1,324 hits, 285 HR, 752 RBI, 200 stolen bases

AMNY average: 30.3

Accolades: 2012 AL Rookie of the Year, 3x AL MVP (’14, ’16, ’19), 8x All-Star, 7x Silver Slugger, 1x Wilson Overall Defensive Player, Quickest player in MLB history to record 200 HR and 200 stolen bases

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