The centerfielder, in baseball, is the man who covers the center of the outfield. He is more often than not the fastest person on the team, and his range must be incredible, because he must be able to field balls hit to both his right and left, as well as in front and behind him. Since most baseball parks tend to bulge out substantially at centerfield, this often means an extra 40-50 feet of coverage for him on nearly every sharply hit flyball.
The centerfielder is marked by an 8 for official scoring purposes. For example, a flyout to the centerfielder would be recorded as an
and the centerfielder subsequently throwing the ball into second to throw out an advancing runner would be recorded as
As mentioned earlier, centerfielders tend to be known for their speed and quickness. They are generally selected for their ability to hit for contact, to get on base frequently, and to move around the bases smartly and speedily. This is not to say that a centerfielder can't be a power hitter (witness Willie Mays or Mickey Mantle) but they are almost always blessed with the ability to run and hustle.
Throughout the years, a number of excellent centerfielders have graced Major League Baseball. Here is a fairly comprehensive list of centerfielders (although some only played centerfield for brief periods in their career) who made a significant mark in the majors, with Hall of Famers denoted in bold:
Felipe Alou - Richie Ashburn - Earl Averill - Ginger Beaumont - Carlos Beltran - Wally Berger - Paul Blair - Max Carey - Cesar Cedeno - Ty Cobb - Earle Combs - Sam Crawford - Eric Davis - Willie Davis - Andre Dawson - Dom DiMaggio - Joe DiMaggio - Larry Doby - Hugh Duffy - Jim Edmonds - Steve Finley - Curt Flood - George Gore - Ken Griffey, Jr. - Billy Hamilton - Sam Jethroe - Andruw Jones - Fielder Jones - Kenny Lofton - Fred Lynn - Mickey Mantle - Willie Mays - Willie McGee - Dale Murphy - Jim O'Rourke - Amos Otis - Jimmy Piersall - Kirby Puckett - Edd Roush - Al Simmons - Duke Snider - Tris Speaker - Chick Stahl - Roy Thomas - Andy Van Slyke - Bill Virdon - Lloyd Waner - Bernie Williams - Hack Wilson - Willie Wilson - Dave Winfield - Jimmy Wynn - Robin Yount
Games: 2992, Willie Mays
At-Bats: 11434, Ty Cobb
Hits: 4189, Ty Cobb
Runs: 2246, Ty Cobb
Doubles: 724, Ty Cobb
Triples: 295, Ty Cobb
Home Runs: 660, Willie Mays
Runs Batted In: 1937, Ty Cobb
Stolen Bases: 892, Ty Cobb
Batting Average: .366, Ty Cobb
Games: 162, Willie Mays, 1962 San Francisco Giants
At-Bats: 631, Willie Wilson, 1986 Kansas City Royals
Hits: 248, Ty Cobb, 1911 Detroit Tigers
Runs: 147, Ty Cobb, 1911 Detroit Tigers
Doubles: 59, Tris Speaker, 1923 Cleveland Indians
Triples: 24, Ty Cobb, 1917 Detroit Tigers
Home Runs: 56, Hack Wilson, 1930 Chicago Cubs
Runs Batted In: 191, Hack Wilson, 1930 Chicago Cubs
Stolen Bases: 96, Ty Cobb, 1915 Detroit Tigers
Batting Average: .420, Ty Cobb, 1911 Detroit Tigers
Most Gold Gloves, American League: 10, Ken Griffey, Jr.
Most Gold Gloves, National League: 12, Willie Mays
Suggestions, additions, corrections? Holla.