The National League has had some of the greatest center fielders of all time. Some of them were five-tool players but finding one with power who could field the position was a chore. Speed is the last component to make up an ideal player at the position. Here are my top 10.
1. Willie Mays
The “Say Hey Kid” was one of the greatest players in the history of the sport. His 660 home runs were incredible since he played many years in a wind tunnel for the San Francisco Giants at Candlestick Park. He added a few late home runs with the New York Mets and his .301 lifetime average and 1,909 RBI are still 11th all-time with some steroid cheats ahead of him. Possibly the greatest all-around outfielder of all time too.
2. Duke Snider
Willie, Mickey, and “The Duke of Flatbush” was a reality for a generation of New York City kids. This Brooklyn Dodgers great hit 407 home runs and hit .295 in his career. He was around before the gold glove award and spent eight seasons in the top 10 in the NL in fielding percentage for the position.
3. Andruw Jones
Nobody played a shallower center field than he did for the Atlanta Braves. He won ten Gold Gloves, and his WAR ranked him sixth times in the top ten among NL center fielders. His 434 home runs rate is very high at the position.
4. Dale Murphy
He was the Atlanta Braves’ biggest star of his era. His five gold glove award and two-consecutive MVPs is enough to rank where he is. He led the NL in home runs and RBIs twice.
5. Jim Edmonds
How many highlight films was he involved with? His eight gold gloves are well deserved. His .393 home runs and .284 lifetime batting average were terrific. He identified most with the St. Louis Cardinals.
This New York Mets outfielder may be a Hall of Famer. His three Gold Glove Awards and Rookie of the Year Award helps. His compiling doesn’t. He played 20 seasons and had 435 home runs with 1,587 RBI.
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7. Lloyd Waner
His nickname was “Little Poison”, his brother was “Big Poison, but he was very potent with the Pittsburgh Pirates. His .321 lifetime average and excellence in the field make him the Hall of Famer that he is.
8. Cesar Cedeno
This great player identified most with the Houston Astros. He was a fixture in center field with five Gold Gloves and a .285 lifetime batting average with 550 steals and 976 RBI. His off the field demons kept him from having a Hall of Fame career.
This guy made big catches and got big hits for the St. Louis Cardinals and later the Pittsburgh Pirates. His five Gold Gloves helped get him here.
10. Pete Reiser
This Brooklyn Dodgers center fielder was a complete player. He made fans rise to their feet routinely in Ebbets Field for making plays and running into an unpadded wall. That took a toll on him, but he could rake as well.
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