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Ranking the top 10 centerfielders ever - whats your list

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  • Bothrops Atrox
    1. Willie Mays
    2. Ty Cobb
    3. Mickey Mantle
    4. Tris Speaker
    5. Oscar Charleston
    6. Joe Dimaggio
    7. Ken Griffey Jr.
    8. Billy Hamilton
    9. Duke Snider
    10. Richie Ashburn

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    Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
    He does make some great plays but some have accused him of "coasting" in order to make it appear like a dive was necessary. His great jumps helped him but a centerfielder who gets great jumps, takes proper angles, and has well above average footspeed shouldn't need to dive so much imo.
    Some of these "diving catches" we see every night on ESPN are a joke. I say "some" are. If any have played this game, the outfield, it's so obvious some of these catches could have been made without leaving one's feet. I have seen a good number where the outfielder is in his last stride and so obvious they go into a dive the last second.

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  • steelcurtain76
    Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
    He does make some great plays but some have accused him of "coasting" in order to make it appear like a dive was necessary. His great jumps helped him but a centerfielder who gets great jumps, takes proper angles, and has well above average footspeed shouldn't need to dive so much imo.
    I completely agree with you. Edmonds has been accused of that by Griffey as well. He's good, but very over-rated as a CF. I think he was a better hitter in his prime than a fielder.

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  • csh19792001
    Originally posted by Sultan_1895-1948 View Post
    1. Cobb
    2. Mays
    3. Speaker
    4. DiMaggio
    5. Mantle
    6. Hamilton
    7. Griffey
    8. Ashburn
    Haven't read enough about other guys to make a determinations as to their relative merits. I've been exposed to quite a bit about everyone here with the exception of Griffey and Hamilton.

    Reason I left Snider off- I was researching platooning a few months ago and I started a project examining:

    1. The Brooklyn Dodgers versus LHP
    2. Warren Spahn against the Dodgers
    3. Duke Snider against LHP

    Here's the Snider info:

    I went back to compile all the available information (mostly by hand) for the Dodgers using retrosheet and baseball-ref. I looked at 1954 and 1956-63 since those are the available years Snider was playing. I wanted to also see how much of an effect Ebbets Field had, since purportedly it was part of the reason for the ridiculous platoon splits, so I also divided it into pre and post move to LA.

    I attached an excel file with the data.

    In 1954, 56, and 57, the Dodgers faced left handed pitchers 9.8% of their total PA's. Only 1.85% of the Dodgers' total PA's were by left handed Dodger hitters against left handed pitchers during those years!!!

    The National League averages were around 25% of PA's thrown by left handed pitching during those years.

    From 1958-63, the Dodgers faced left handed pitching in 23.7% of their total PA's. 5.3% of the total PA's were by left handed Dodger hitters against left handed pitchers.

    Duke Snider faced left handed pitching only 7.4% of the time in 54' and 56'-63'. Even after the Dodgers went to LA and lost power in the lineup, Snider continued to almost always sit against lefties.

    My conclusion? Well, presuming that the retrosheet data for about half his career is closely representative of his entire career, I'd say that Snider is tremendously overrated, since hardly anyone to my knowledge, has taken fully into consideration that:

    A) he couldn't hit lefties
    B) he hardly ever had to face lefties, as the other greats did

    No omnibus metric I know of deals with/adjusts for handedness and platoon splits, either.
    Attached Files

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  • hairmetalfreek
    I'm not sure where he would rank, but I would definitely have Eric Davis in my top 10 list somewhere. When he was not injured, he was amazing.

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  • Sultan_1895-1948
    Originally posted by blackout805 View Post
    edmonds was the best defensive CFer I've ever seen, nobody makes better plays (besides Tori Hunter maybe)
    He does make some great plays but some have accused him of "coasting" in order to make it appear like a dive was necessary. His great jumps helped him but a centerfielder who gets great jumps, takes proper angles, and has well above average footspeed shouldn't need to dive so much imo.

    Not just defense but careers overall....

    1. Cobb
    2. Mays
    3. Speaker
    4. Mantle
    5. DiMaggio
    6. Hamilton
    7. Griffey
    8. Snider
    9. Andruw
    10. Who knows. Oscar should probably be between Speaker and Mantle, but he did put on some pounds in his mid 30's. Perhaps he would have done enough before then.

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  • Blackout
    willie mays, tris speaker and dimaggio over mantle?

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  • Tyrus4189Cobb
    So great to be back (although I was probably forgotten )

    Here are mine:
    1 Ty Cobb
    2 Willie Mays
    3 Tris Speaker
    4 Joe DiMaggio
    5 Mickey Mantle
    6 Ken Griffey Jr.
    7 Duke Snider
    8 Billy Hamilton
    9 Andruw Jones
    10 Ichiro Suzuki

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  • Bill Burgess
    CF From Chart:

    Pre-1900: Jimmie McAleer, Bill Lange, Jimmy Ryan, George Gore, Harry Wright, Paul Hines, Lip Pike, Tom Brown, George Van Haltren, Dummy Hoy, Billy Hamilton, Hugh Duffy, Ollie Pickering, Pete Browning, Curt Welch, Dickey Johnson, Mike Griffin

    1900-1940: Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Eddie Roush, Max Carey, Clyde Milan, Clarence "Ginger" Beaumont, Oscar "Happy" Felsch, Chick Stahl, Johnny Mostil, Benny Kauff, Lloyd Waner, Earl Averill, Hack Wilson, Wally Berger, Earle Combs.

    1940-1970: Joe DiMaggio, Willie Mays, Mickey Mantle, Duke Snider, Richie Ashburn, Pete Reiser, Larry Doby, Jim Piersall, Jim Landis, Bill Virdon, Vada Pinson, Jimmy Wynn, Bobby Thompson, Curt Flood.

    1970-present: Ken Griffey, Jr., Brett Butler, Andruw Jones, Tori Hunter, Mike Cameron, Jim Edmonds, Mark Kotsay, Dale Murphy, Kirby Puckett, Bernie Williams, Carlos Beltran, Johnny Damon, Fred Lynn, Cesar Cedeno, Steve Finley, Andre Dawson, Al Oliver, Bobby Murcer, and Eric Davis, Willie McGee, Willie Wilson, Mickey Rivers and Kenny Lofton.

    Negro Leaguers: Oscar Charleston, "Cool Papa" Bell, Christobal Carlos Torriente, Spot Poles, Pete Hill, Clint "Hawk" Thomas, Chino Smith, Martin Dihigo
    Bill James' Top CF: 1. Willie Mays 2. Ty Cobb 3. Mickey Mantle 4. Tris Speaker 5. Joe DiMaggio 6. Duke Snider 7. Ken Griffey Jr. 8. Kirby Puckett 9. Billy Hamilton 10. Jimmy Wynn 15. Edd Roush 16. Richie Ashburn 23. Max Carey 26. Jimmy Ryan 35. Clyde Milan 38. Pete Browning 39. Ginger Beaumont 40. George Gore 46. Pete Reiser 47. Dummy Hoy 64. Bill Lange 67. Happy Felsch 75. Cy Williams 96. Bill Virdon 99. Johnny Mostil 100. Amos Strunk
    Some CF Reference Resources:

    Hitting Stats Comparison Chart:

    Cobb, Mantle, Mays, Speaker, DiMaggio, Roush, Ashburn, Snider.
    led league--12---8----3----4----1---5---4---6----7----8----6---0--11
    Mickey Mantle--BA---Hits-2B--3B--HR---Runs-RBI--TB--OBA-SLG-SB--BB-OPS+
    Led league------1----1----0---1---4----6----1----3---3---4---0---5--8
    2nd in league---1----0----1---0---3----2----3----4---5---0---0---3--3
    Willie Mays----BA---Hits-2B--3B---HR--Runs-RBI--TB--OBA-SLG-SB--BB-OPS+
    Led league------1----1----0---3----4---2----0----3---2---5---4---1--6
    2nd in league---3----1----1---1----1---5----2----5---1---3---0---1--1
    Tris Speaker--BA--Hits-2B--3B--HR--Runs-RBI--TB--OBA-SLG-SB--BB-OPS+
    Led league-----1---2----8---0---1---0----0----1---4---1---0---0--1
    2nd in league--2---1----3---1---2---4----1----3---3---2---0---1--4
    Joe DiMaggio---BA--Hits-2B--3B--HR--Runs-RBI--TB--OBA--SLG-SB--BB-OPS+
    Led league------2---0----0---1---2---1----2----3---0----2---0---0--1
    2nd in league---0---1----1---0---0---2----3----2---0----5---0---0--4
    Edd Roush--BA---Hits-2B--3B--HR--Runs-RBI-TB--OBA--SLG--SB--BB-OPS+
    led league--2----0----1---1---1---0----0---1---0----1----0---0--1
    2nd league--2----0----1---2---0---0----1---0---0----0----1---0--1
    3rd league--1----3----0---3---0---0----1---0---1----1----0---0--2
    led league---2---3----0--2---0---0----0---0---4---0---1---4---0
    2nd league---2---1----0--0---0---0----0---0---0---0---2---2---0
    3rd league---0---0----0--0---0---0----0---0---1---0---0---1---0
    led league---0----1---0--0---1----3---1---3---1---2---0---1---1
    2nd league---0----1---2--0---1----1---1---1---1---2---0---0---1
    3rd league---2----1---2--2---1----0---1---0---2---0---0---1---2
    leecemark; December 3, 2004, 06:58 AM Round 1 of Position Players Poll
    Cobb Wins
    -Congratulations to Tyrus Raymond Cobb and his supporters for his victory over an extremely competitive field. I'd like to thank everyone who particiapated in the discussions on this thread. This has been easily the best of the series so far. Whether we're getting better as we go along or this was a result of the deep field of truely great players, we had some excellent debates on the merits of several players and some good side issues as well.
    1) Ty Cobb 259
    2) Willie Mays 253
    3) Mickey Mantle 209
    4) Tris Speaker 196
    5) Joe DiMaggio 182
    6) Oscar Charleston 108
    7) Ken Griffey Jr 91
    8) Duke Snider 70
    9) Cool Papa Bell 36
    10) Billy Hamilton 26
    11) Richie Ashburn 25
    12) Lary Doby 23
    13) Kirby Puckett 20
    --Nobody else reached double figures
    538280; December 17, 2005, 08:44 AM Round 2 of Position Players Poll
    Poll Results
    We had 24 ballots submitted, and it was a very close race for #1. In the end, Ty Cobb claimed his spot as the BBF #1 CFer by a slight margin over Willie Mays. Here's everyone who received 10 or more votes (first place votes in parenthesis):

    1. Ty Cobb-253 (14)
    2. Willie Mays-242 (10)
    3. Tris Speaker-175
    4. Mickey Mantle-169
    5. Joe DiMaggio-147
    6. Oscar Charleston-114
    7. Ken Griffey Jr.-82
    8. Duke Snider-55
    9. Billy Hamilton-45
    10. Cool Papa Bell-33
    11. Richie Ashburn-15
    12.Christobal Torriente-14
    Bill Burgess; May 27, 2007, 10:59 PM; Round 3 of Position Players Poll

    1.) Ty Cobb - 266 points (15 first place votes)
    2.) Willie Mays - 244 points (12 first place votes)
    3.) Mickey Mantle - 213 points (0 first place votes)
    4.) Tris Speaker - 197 points (1 first place vote)
    5.) Joe DiMaggio - 166 points (1 first place vote)
    6.) Oscar Charleston - 119 points
    7.) Ken Griffey Jr. - 109 points
    8.) Duke Snider - 70 points
    9.) Billy Hamilton - 50 points
    10.) Cool Papa Bell - 28 points
    11.) Kirby Puckett - 11 points
    12.) Spot Poles - 8 points
    13.) Martin Dihigo - 7 points
    14.) Jimmy Wynn - 7 points
    15.) Christobal Torriente - 5 points
    16.) Richie Ashburn - 5 points
    17.) Lary Doby - 5 points
    18.) Jim Edmonds - 4 points
    19.) Fred Lynn - 4 points
    20.) Hugh Duffy - 3 points
    21.) Paul Hines - 2 points
    22.) Turkey Stearns - 2 points
    23.) Cesar Cedeno - 1 point
    24.) Dale Murphy - 1 point
    Greatest Hitter series, conducted by Bill Burgess, ending November 4, 2007, 08:05 AM

    3. Ty Cobb
    7. Mickey Mantle
    10. Willie Mays
    14. Tris Speaker
    16. Joe DiMaggio
    21. Oscar Charleston
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-08-2008, 02:35 PM.

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  • dgarza
    1. Ty Cobb
    2. Willie Mays
    3. Mickey Mantle
    4. Tris Speaker
    5. Joe DiMaggio
    6. Ken Griffey
    7. Duke Snider
    8. Billy Hamilton
    9. Pete Browning
    10. Hugh Duffy

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  • Bill Burgess
    My slate of candidates for CF. Something tells me that my list may take some people aback. Not trying to be controversial. These really do represent my recent readings.

    1. Ty Cobb - 1905-28 - 4,189 hits, 892 SB, .366, 12 BA. titles in 13 yrs., 10th in Relative SLG. Willie, cry your eyes out.

    2. Willie Mays - 1951-73 - Best overall since 1925. Without a weakness. 9 TPR titles, all time glove.

    3. Oscar Charleston - 1915-41 - Greatest Negro Leaguer, Mgr., Hit moonsthots, fielded shallow like Spoke, ran bags like Ty,jr. Would have given Willie a run for his money. (Negro L.)

    4. Tris Speaker - 1908-28 - Played CF about 20 feet off infield dirt, hit great, ran great, magnetic glove. Cobb stole all his blacks/greys.

    5. Joe DiMaggio - 1936-51 - Bat/glove combo best of his day. Played a little too deep in the Stadium but caught anything near him. Wished he'd run.

    6. Mickey Mantle - 1951-68 - Great power, great peak, high ave. in his prime, very good glove, injury-prone, bottle put him down prematurely, noted for courage and team leader. Most famous player of his day, courtesy NYC media machine. Extremely loved.

    7. Ken Griffey, Jr. - 1889-present - great bat/glove. Super-graceful. Had 7 great seasons, which is all some others had, actually. Injury-prone last few yrs. Hopefully can fullfill his destiny.

    8. Duke Snider - 1947-64 - good power/glove. HR totals at Ebbets went from 42, 40, 42, 43, 40, to 15, 23, 14, 16 in LA. He shoulda sued.

    9. Pete Hill - 1899-26 - CF, LF, RF, 1B, 2B, Mgr., bus. mgr. - Power/ave., line-drive guy to all fields, bunted for hits, superior contact guy, near perfect plate judgement, seldom fanned. In '11, credited with hitting safely in 115 of 116 games. Was 1st great OF in black history. Great glove, ran great, deadly arm, base thief. (Negro L.)

    10. Monte Irvin - 1937-48 - CF, SS, 3B - Made the MLs. Power/ave. (Negro L.)

    11. Christobal "Carlos" Torrienti - 1913-28 - Slugging superstar, outstanding glove w/ great range, arm, good speed, good base thief. Versatile enough to post a 15-7 pitching record!! Hit .333 Negro L. lifetime, .352 Cuban L. lifetime, 2 BA. titles. Hit .313 against MLers in exhibitions. (Negro L.)

    In 1920, Babe Ruth went with the NY Giants to Cuba for a 9 game series. Torrienti outhit him .378 to .345, outhomered him 3-2, as the Cubans edged the Giants by a 1 game margin.

    12. Ed Roush - 1914-1931 - 2 BA. titles, 1 Slg. title, great glove, 268 SB.

    13. Clyde Milan - 1907-22 - all time glove, base thief. Played extremely shallow CF a la Spoke, backed up Big Train in CF. Only hit .300 3 times.

    14. Max Carey - 1911-29 - All time glove/base thief. Won 10 SB titles. Perhaps the all time SB % leader.

    15. Richie Ashburn - 1948-62 - Phenomenal glove, 2 BA. titles, 1 SB title, 3 hits titles, 2 doubles titles, 4 Walks titles, 4 On-base % titles, 5 Fielding Runs titles.

    16. Jimmie McAleer - 1889-98 - Speaker/Mays level glove. Best defensive OF of the 1800's. Hit .253 BA lifetime. 262 SB.

    17. Cool Papa Bell - 1922-46 - Perhaps the fastest man ever to play ball. Amazing base thief, legged out many "hits". Regularly beat out 2 hoppers to infield, went from 1B to 3B on bunts, scored from 2B on sacrifies, once scored from 1B on a bunt against Bob Lemon and ML all-stars.
    Switch hit, and hit for high averages. (Negro L.)

    18. Spot Poles - 1909-23 - Clocked under 10.0 for 100 yd. dash. Hit left leadoff, sharp hitter, bunted well, stocky built, massive arms, excellent range, soft hands, accurate throws, intense competitor. Called black Cobb. (Negro L.)

    19. Martin Dihigo - 1923-45 - Cuban 6'3, 190 pitcher/slugger.

    Possibly most versatile player in history. 2B, OF, P, 1B, 3B, SS, C, Mgr.
    His records: Cuba - 115-60; Mexico - 119-57; Negro L. - 27-21;
    yielding a lifetime pitching records of 261-138;
    Hitter: Led L. in HRs '26, tied in '27;Hit over .400 at least 3 times. (Negro L.)

    Contrary to popular believe, Dihigo was NOT the only pitcher/hitter to shine in NL history. Ted Radcliffe, "Bullet Joe" Rogan and at least over 10 other players both pitched brilliantly and hit amazingly well to lead their leagues. They always played small ball, often didn't specialize, and played an amazing brand of ball across the boards, all while playing 12 months a year.

    20. Jim Edmonds - 1993-present - Mays style glove.

    21. Bill Lange - 1893-99 - All time glove/runner. Hit credibly but not lead leaguing hitting stats.
    Didn't make the cut. Pete Reiser, Happy Felsch, Ginger Beaumont, Johnny Mostil, Andruw Jones, Torri Hunter, Clint "Hawk" Thomas, Chino Smith.
    Last edited by Bill Burgess; 05-08-2008, 02:33 PM.

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  • leecemark
    1) Willie Mays
    2) Ty Cobb
    3) Mickey Mantle (#1 for peak)
    4) Tris Speaker
    (Oscar Charleston)
    5) Joe DiMaggio
    6) Ken Griffey Jr
    7) Duke Snider
    8) Billy Hamilton
    (Christobal Torriente?)
    9) Paul Hines
    10) Kirby Puckett

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  • hellborn
    Griffey Jr
    Cool Papa
    Mr. Could Have Been - Eric Davis

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  • The Dude
    1.Ty Cobb
    2.Willie Mays
    3.Mickey Mantle
    4.Joe DiMaggio
    5.Tris Speaker
    6.Ken Griffey Jr.
    7.Duke Snider
    8.Richie Ashburn
    9.Kirby Puckett
    10.Larry Doby

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    1. Willie Mays
    2. Ty Cobb
    3. Tris Speaker
    4. Mickey Mantle
    5. Joe DiMaggio
    6. Billy Hamilton
    7. Ken Griffey Jr.
    8. Duke Snider
    9. Earl Averill
    10. Larry Doby

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