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Top 10 Best Center Fielders of All Time in MLB History

Best Center Fielders in MLB

MLB fans usually prioritize the hitters, but the defensive position carries even more significance than a pitcher. Therefore, a load of best players emerged in this position and cracked down the games. That is why ranking the best center fielders of all time in MLB History is not a piece of cake.

But still, our research team has come out with the 10 best of the best center fielders. Unsurprisingly, there are many World Series Champion and Golden Glove winners on our list, but who is the greatest? Is it Ty Cobb? Or the crown goes to Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio? Read on to find it out by yourself.

#10. Billy Hamilton

Career at a Glance

  • Games:1594
  • 2B:242
  • 3B:95

William Robert Hamilton, also known as ‘Sliding Billy’, was a professional Major League Baseball player who played as a center fielder. Though, Hamilton is pretty unpopular among baseball fans. In 1888, this center fielder started his Hall of Fame career and continued playing until 1901.

He played for the Boston Beaneaters, Kansas City Cowboys, and Philadelphia Phillies from 1888 to 1901.

This former center fielder was famous for his pace or sprint, and during his career, Hamilton stole more than 100 bases with his sprinting ability in three consecutive seasons.

This left batter was at his peak performance when he played for Philadelphia Phillies in 1894, where he had a batting average of .403 with 4 home runs. He stole 912 bases throughout his entire career. In the year of 1961, the MLB management officially inducted him into the Hall of Fame.

#09. Larry Doby

Career at a Glance

  • Games:1533
  • 2B:243
  • 3B:52

Lawrence Eugene Doby, nicknamed ‘Larry,’ was a professional baseball player in the MBA as well as the Negro Leagues. He was the second player to break the color barrier in baseball and the first-ever black player to play in the American League.

This center fielder won 7 midsummer classic games (All-Star) throughout his 13 years of career and was also World Series Champion in 1948.

In his entire career, Larry had a .283 batting average with 253 home runs and 970 RBI (runs batted in), which made him one of the famous center fielders in Major League Baseball history.

However, MBA management was too late to induct him into the Baseball Hall of Fame (1998).

#08. Kirby Puckett

Career at a Glance

  • Games:1783
  • 2B:414
  • 3B:57

Kirby Puckett was a professional baseball player who played in the center fielder position for the Minnesota Twins through his 12 long years of Major League Baseball career. Because of his unbreakable runs, hits, and total bases in the Minnesota Twins, Puckett is considered one of the greatest center fielders of all time. However, his career was also full of tragedies.

He won The World Series Title in 1987 and 1991, alongside 10 All-Star games. Puckett was also 6 times Gold Glove Winner. He had a batting average of .318 and 207 home runs.

Unfortunately, his career took a dramatic change when he started to go blind in his right eye. After losing complete vision in the left eye, Puckett never played a single match for his remaining life.

#07. Tris Speaker

Career at a Glance

  • Games:2789
  • 2B:792
  • 3B:222

Tristram Edgar Speaker, also known as ‘The Gray Eagle,’ was a professional baseball player. Tris played in Boston and Cleveland for most of his career.

The 3 times Baseball World Series Champion (1912, 1915, and 1920) was awarded American League (AL) MVP in 1912 along with AL batting champion in 1912.

His best season was when he played for Cleveland Indians in 1923, where Tris had a batting average of .380 with 130 RBI and 17 HR.

However, if we calculate his entire career statistics, then Tris Speaker has a .345 batting average with 117 HR and 1,531 RBI, including 792 doubles.

#06. Duke Snider

  • Career at a Glance:
  • Games:2143
  • 2B:358
  • 3B:85

Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider, formerly known as ‘The Duke of Flatbush’ and ‘The Silver Fox,’ was a professional center fielder in the Major Baseball League. During his career, he mostly played under The Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Snider was among a few top center fielders, who won the Baseball World Series for both the clubs in 1954 and 1959 and ranked second in the National League MVP voting in 1955, where he lost to Roy Campanella just by 5 points. Aside from that, Snider was also an eight-time All-Star game Winner.

‘The Duke of Flatbush’ maintained a batting average of .295 throughout his MLB career, alongside 407 HR and 1,333 RBI. Meanwhile, there are no players from the Dodgers who could beat these statistics.

#05. Ken Griffey Jr.

Career at a Glance

  • Games:2671
  • 2B:524
  • 3B:38

George Kenneth Griffey Jr., also famous for his nickname “The Kid” and “Junior.” ‘The Kid’ spent 13 of his career seasons in Seattle and debuted his baseball career at the age of 19, and Ken Griffey quickly escalated to the top of the center fielder list with his hard work and dedication.

He performed in 13 All-Star games and won the Gold Glove award for 10 long consecutive years. Ken was also awarded AL MVP in 1997.

If we look at the statistics, Ken gave his best performance in 1997, where the batting average was .304 along with 147 RBI and 56 HR. Unfortunately, an injury forced this center fielder to retire from baseball.

#04. Mickey Mantle

Career at a Glance

  • Games:2401
  • 2B:344
  • 3B:72

Without a doubt, Mickey Mantle or “The Mick” is one of the best players ever played in the position of New York Yankees center fielders.

An outstanding statistic with 20 All-Star games winner, Mantle also won the Triple Crown Award in 1956 and led his team to seven Baseball World Series Titles.

Mickey Mantle had a batting average of .298 with 536 Home runs and 1,509 RBI.

Mantle was nominated for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1974. He may not be the best cf of all time, but undoubtedly the best switch-hitter in MLB history.

#03. Joe DiMaggio

Career at a Glance

  • Games:1736
  • 2B:389
  • 3B:131

Certain baseball players stay immortal in their fan’s hearts either through their remarkable performance or by single-game statistics. In the case of Joe DiMaggio, the center fielder will be remembered for his performance as well as statistics.

With a batting average of .325 and 361 HR, DiMaggio is a worthy player to stay in the best center fielders of all time lists.

In his 13 years of baseball career, DiMaggio won 13 All-Star games as well as 9 World Championships. 

Due to the military services during World War 2, DiMaggio had to take a break from baseball for 3 years. However, he managed to recover after World War and maintained a brilliant performance. He was also awarded AL MVP three times.

#02. Ty Cobb

Career at a Glance

  • Games:3034
  • 2B:724
  • 3B:295

The Detroit Tigers Center fielder has the all-time best batting average record of .366. He also owned 11 batting titles throughout his entire career.

Along with his power-hitting ability, Ty Cobb is also famous for his base-stealing record. He scored 892 SB (steal base) in his entire career. In 1911, he had a batting average of .419 with 127 RBI and 8 HM, while Ty Cobb also scored 83 SB.

Cobb was officially selected for the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.

#01. Willie Mays

Career at a Glance

  • Games:3283
  • 2B:523
  • 3B:140

The greatest center fielder of all time Willie Mays played under the San Francisco Giant for the majority of his baseball career. This extraordinary 24 All-Star winner, Mays is like a god to most of the center fielders. Additionally, Mays also won the Gold Glove Award 12 times.

Mays started his baseball career in 1951, where he won the NL Rookie of the Year award. After that, he was given the Nation League MVP award in 1954 and 1965.

Every baseball fan still remembers his iconic catch in Game 1, which is famous as “The Catch” in the present day. It was so thrilling that it is still being broadcasted on television. Mays retired from baseball in 1973, with a batting average of .302 and 660 HR as well as 3283 hits.

Who is your idol among them? Comment down below to let us know.

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