Wednesday, April 22, 2015

The best Left Fielders in New York Yankee history

The Yankees have had a number of good outfielders in franchise history, with many playing more than one spot. But who are the best left fielders? I took a look at who played the most games at the position, and put up good offensive as well as defensive numbers. Contribution to championship teams was also taken into consideration when ranking the players. Here are the top five Yankee Left Fielders of all time:

5) Lou Piniella: Playing in over 450 games in left field during his eleven seasons from 1974-1984, Piniella was a decent fielder with a strong arm. He was a .295 hitter during his time with the Yankees and produced a number of key hits in crucial games while contributing to World Series titles in 1977 and 1978.

4) Hideki Matsui: Matsui manned left field in over 550 games for New York from 2003-2009. He was steady defensively, and averaged .284 while driving in over 100 runs in four seasons during his seven years with the Yanks. Matsui was named the MVP of the 2009 World Series.

3) Bob Meusel: Playing 626 games in left field from 1920 to 1929 (he also played right field and third base for a total of 1,294 games in his Yankee career), Meusel contributed to three World Series titles. He ranks eighth all time on the Yankees with a .311 batting average; is tenth with 338 doubles; and twelfth 1,005 RBI.

2) Charlie Keller: Keller played in 870 games in left field during eleven seasons with the Yankees, from 1939-1949. His on-base percentage of .410 ranks fourth in team history, behind only Ruth, Gehrig, and Mantle. He is also eighth in slugging percentage with a .518 average, and his .982 fielding percentage in left is higher than the league average of .974 at the time. Keller also drove in 18 runs in 19 World Series games, contributing to three titles.

1) Roy White: Appearing in 1,521 games in left field during his fifteen years with the team from 1965-1979, White delivered a number of key hits throughout his career and was an important contributor to the Yankees' championship teams of 1976, 1977, and 1978. While he didn't have a great arm his .987 fielding percentage was higher than the American League left fielders average of .978 at the time. On the all-time records' lists for the Yankees White ranks seventh in games played with 1,881, eighth in walks with 934, fifth in stolen bases with 233, second in sacrifice flies with 69, and fourth in the power-speed category with a number of 189.7, behind only Jeter, Mantle, and Williams. White's steady play makes him the best Left Fielder in Yankees history.

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