Thursday, January 22, 2015

Friday Five: Top 5 Cardinals Centerfielders

5.  Terry Moore 



Terry Moore comes in fifth on my list of Cardinals centerfielders.  He played a total of 11 seasons with the Cardinals starting in 1935 and last until 1948, but he missed three years of playing time due to service in World War II.  Perhaps with a few more good seasons Moore could have ranked higher on this list.  His OPS+ in 1942 was 114, with 2.8 WAR, but only managed an OPS+ of 85 and a WAR of 0.5 in 1946 when he returned to the Cardinals.  Moore's best years were a four year span starting in 1939 when he was named to four All-Star games and helped the Cardinals win the 1942 World Series.  During the 1942 Series Moore posted a .294/.368/.353 line in helping the team defeat the Yankees.  Moore also won a ring with the 1946 Cardinals team.  


4.  Willie McGee 


Willie McGee came over to the Cardinals from the Yankees following the 1981 season for pitcher Bob Sykes.  Willie would enjoy a 18 year career which included two stints with the Cardinals totaling 13 seasons.  During his first run with the Cardinals McGee helped the team win the 1982 World Series and the 1985 and 1987 National League Championships.  In addition to the team accolades, McGee also won the 1985 National League MVP Award and the batting title.  McGee also won the 1990 National League batting title while finishing the season with the A's.  He gained enough at-bats to qualify for the award and a few people, I believe Eddie Murray, had rough Septembers.  McGee also won three Gold Gloves during this first stretch on the Cardinals.  After spending time with the A's, Giants, and Red Sox Willie McGee returned to the Cardinals in 1996 and spent his final four years with the club.  He hit above .300 in both 1996 and 1997, but was mainly help off the bench at this point during his career.


3.  Ray Lankford 


I am not sure if most Cardinals fans will agree with Lankford being ahead of McGee, but he had a lot more value then what most people give him credit.  Ray played a total of 13 years as a Cardinal, with the first twelve coming between 1990 and 2001, and a final season in 2004 after a year and a half with the Padres and a year away from baseball in 2003.  Lankford does not have the post season success that the rest of the players on the list had, but he also played for some of the worst Cardinals teams of the last 30 years.  Lankford still posted a career OPS+ of 124, higher than anyone on this list save for number one, and had an oWAR of 37.8.  Again higher than anyone else on this list minus the first spot.  While Lankford did not have the chance to play on any World Series teams, or win any major individual accolades, he did end his career high in the rankings in several important offensive categories in team history including: ninth in runs, tenth in total bases, ninth in doubles, fifth in home runs, ninth in RBIs, and eighth in steals.  Lankford ended his Cardinals career with more than 200 home runs, 200 steals, 300 doubles, and 800 RBIs.  


2. Curt Flood 


If rankings were based on the baseball cards in these posts then Flood would be higher than second.  I have always loved this card.  One of my favorite Cardinals baseball cards from this era.  Flood came to the Cardinals in a trade with the Reds in December of 1957.  He immediately started for the Cardinals in 1958 and was the team's centerfielder for a twelve year span that lasted until 1969 when he was part of a package of players the Cardinals sent to the Phillies for Dick Allen.  The trade ended up leading to free agency, but that's for another blog post.  Flood's career line as a Cardinal was .293/.343/.390 with an OPS+ right at 100, but his real value for the team was on defense.  Starting in 1963, Flood won seven straight National League Gold Gloves playing for the Cardinals.  During that same stretch he helped the team win the World Series in 1964 and 1967 and the National League Pennant in 1968.  


1.  Jim Edmonds 



I could make an argument that Edmonds belongs in the Hall of Fame with this space, but I already did that a year or so ago.  So, let's review.  Edmonds played 8 years as a Cardinal and played 17 overall.  His career was a little bit on the short side, but his peak years are right there with all of the other centerfielders that are already in the Hall of Fame.  His best season as a Cardinal was 2004 when he posted a .301/.418/.643 line with 42 home runs, 111 RBIs, and a WAR of 7.0.  Edmonds took home a Gold Glove award that year, but split the MVP vote with two other Cardinals, Rolen and Pujols, who were also deserving of the award.  In all Edmonds won 8 Gold Glove Awards, 1 World Series ring, in 2006, and a National League Pennant in 2004.  Edmonds ended his Cardinals career with a .285/.393/.555 line with 241 home runs and an OPS+ of 143.  Easily the best Cardinals centerfielder of all-time.  

3 comments:

  1. I feel like Edmonds is the Cardinals version of Tramell for the Tigers when it comes to the Hall of Fame. Both guys deserve to be in the Hall

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  2. No honorable mention for Tito Landrum?

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    Replies
    1. There is a big drop off after these five. No honorable mention for Tito.

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