Centerfielders in baseball are usually players who have the best combination of speed and a strong throwing arm among the three outfielders, since they have to cover the most ground and make throws from different areas in the field. The Yankees have had many great players at the position, so let's take a look at the best in their history. As it turns out these five are also the top five in games played in centerfield.
5) Bobby Murcer: Playing in 754 games in center field during 13 seasons with the team, Murcer won a Gold Glove at the position in 1972, and was named to four All Star teams. Hit .278 with 175 home runs and 687 RBI's in his Yankee career.
4) Earle Combs: Batting leadoff for great Yankee teams in the 1920's and early 1930's, Combs was one reason for Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig's massive RBI totals - he was on base often. Ranks third in Yankee history (behind only Ruth and Gehrig) with a .325 batting average, and his outstanding .397 career on base percentage is eighth all time. Is the team's single season leader in triples with 23 in 1927, and ranks second all time in team history with 154 triples as well as seventh in runs scored with 1,186. In 1927 Combs led the American League in hits with 231, which is second in team history for a single season. Batting .350 in 16 World Series games and a member of three world championship teams, this Hall of Famer played in 1,157 games in center during his 12 year career.
3) Bernie Williams: A five time All Star and winner of four Gold Gloves while playing 1,857 games in center field, Williams contributed to four World Championship titles. In Yankee history he ranks third in doubles with 449, fifth in hits with 2,336, sixth in runs scored with 1,366, sixth in RBI's with 1,257, and seventh in home runs with 287.
2) Mickey Mantle: A 16 time All Star selection, the American League Triple Crown winner in 1956, a three time league MVP, and winner of a Gold Glove in 1962, Mantle played 1,743 games in center field. He led American League centerfielders in assists with 14 in 1952 and 20 in 1954, and his .995 fielding percentage led all centerfielders in 1955 and 1959. Mantle hit .298 with 536 home runs and 1,509 RBI's in 18 years with the Yankees, contributing to seven World Championships. The Hall of Famer holds a number of World Series batting records including the most home runs with 18, RBI's with 40, runs scored with 42, and walks with 43.
1) Joe DiMaggio: Despite missing three seasons while serving in the military during World War II, DiMaggio still ranks in the Yankees' top ten in most batting categories. He is third with a .325 batting average, third in RBI's with 1,537, third in triples with 131, third in slugging percentage at .579, fourth in home runs with 361, fifth in runs scored with 1,390, and seventh in on base percentage at .398. Playing in 1,635 games in center field, DiMaggio's .997 fielding percentage in 1947 led all American League centerfielders, and he also led in assists with 21 in 1937, 20 in 1938, and 15 in 1946. An All Star in each of his 13 seasons with the team, DiMaggio won three league MVP awards and contributed to nine Yankee World Championships. He is the greatest Yankee centerfielder of all time.