Willie Mays, the all-time leader in games played as a center fielder

Games played (most often abbreviated as G or GP) is a statistic used in team sports to indicate the total number of games in which a player has participated (in any capacity); the statistic is generally applied irrespective of whatever portion of the game is contested. In baseball, the statistic applies also to players who, prior to a game, are included on a starting lineup card or are announced as ex ante substitutes, whether or not they play;[1] however, in Major League Baseball, the application of this statistic does not extend to consecutive games played streaks. A starting pitcher, then, may be credited with a game played even if he is not credited with a game started or an inning pitched. The center fielder (CF) is one of the three outfielders, the defensive positions in baseball farthest from the batter. Center field is the area of the outfield directly in front of a person standing at home plate and facing beyond the pitcher's mound. The outfielders' duty is to try to catch long fly balls before they hit the ground or to quickly catch or retrieve and return to the infield any other balls entering the outfield. Generally having the most territory to cover, the center fielder is usually the fastest of the three outfielders, although this can also depend on the relative strength of their throwing arms and the configuration of their home field, due to the deepest part of center field being the farthest point from the infield and home plate. The center fielder normally plays behind the shortstop and second baseman, who play in or near the infield; unlike catchers and most infielders (excepting first basemen), who are virtually exclusively right-handed, center fielders can be either right- or left-handed. In the scoring system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.

Because game accounts and box scores often did not distinguish between the outfield positions, there has been some difficulty in determining precise defensive statistics prior to 1901; because of this, and because of the similarity in their roles, defensive statistics for the three positions are frequently combined. However, efforts to distinguish between the three positions regarding games played during this period and reconstruct the separate totals have been largely successful; players whose totals include pre-1901 games are notated in the table below. Willie Mays is all-time leader in games played as a center fielder with 2,829 games played in his career.[2][3][4] Tris Speaker (2,691),[5] Steve Finley (2,314),[6] Willie Davis (2,239),[7] Ty Cobb (2,194),[8] Ken Griffey Jr. (2,145),[9] and Doc Cramer (2,027)[10] are the only other players to appear in over 2,000 games in center field in their careers.

Key

Rank Rank amongst leaders in career games played. A blank field indicates a tie.
Player (2024 Gs) Number of games played during the 2024 Major League Baseball season
MLB Total career games played as a center fielder in Major League Baseball
* Denotes elected to National Baseball Hall of Fame
Denotes total including pre-1901 games
Bold Denotes active player[a]

List

Andrew McCutchen, the active leader and 48th all-time in games played as a center fielder
Tris Speaker holds the American League record.
Richie Ashburn played a record 730 consecutive games in center field from 1950 to 1954.
Dummy Hoy held the major league record for 21 years.
Lloyd Waner held the National League record for 17 years.
Paul Hines, who was the first player to appear in 1,000 games in center field, held the National League record for 20 years.
Rank Player (2024 Gs) Games as a center fielder Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
1 Willie Mays* 2,829 0 2,829
2 Tris Speaker* 2,691 2,691 0 Held major league record, 1920-1971
3 Steve Finley 2,314 171 2,143
4 Willie Davis 2,239 42 2,197
5 Ty Cobb* 2,194 2,194 0
6 Ken Griffey Jr.* 2,145 1,517 628
7 Doc Cramer 2,027 2,027 0
8 Brett Butler 1,987 601 1,386
9 Kenny Lofton 1,984 1,445 539
10 Richie Ashburn* 1,980 0 1,980 Held National League record, 1959-1965
11 Marquis Grissom 1,967 144 1,823
12 Bernie Williams 1,856 1,856 0
13 Amos Otis 1,825 1,792 33
14 Paul Blair 1,802 1,747 55
15 Mike Cameron 1,787 899 888
16 Jim Edmonds 1,768 566 1,202
17 Edd Roush* 1,754 2 1,605 Includes 147 in Federal League
18 Mickey Mantle* 1,742 1,742 0
19 Andruw Jones 1,724 17 1,707
20 Devon White 1,722 1,114 608
21 Curt Flood 1,692 10 1,682
22 Vada Pinson 1,680 182 1,498
23 Lloyd Waner* 1,660 0 1,660 Held National League record, 1942-1959
24 Garry Maddox 1,658 0 1,658
25 Joe DiMaggio* 1,634 1,634 0
26 Clyde Milan 1,631 1,631 0 Held American League record, 1915-1920
27 Max Carey* 1,624 0 1,624 Held National League record, 1926-1942
28 Adam Jones 1,590 1,589 1
29 Duke Snider* 1,589 0 1,589
30 Fred Lynn 1,584 1,578 6
31 Carlos Beltrán 1,572 751 821
32 Bill Bruton 1,548 507 1,041
33 Torii Hunter 1,523 1,523 0
34 Bill Virdon 1,506 0 1,506
35 Rick Monday 1,489 607 882
36 Earl Averill* 1,476 1,473 3
37 Chet Lemon 1,470 1,470 0
38 Dode Paskert 1,458 0 1,458 Held National League record, 1920-1926
39 César Cedeño 1,457 0 1,457
40 Sam West 1,446 1,446 0
41 Kirby Puckett* 1,432 1,432 0
42 Cy Williams 1,372 0 1,372
43 Vernon Wells 1,369 1,369 0
44 Willie Wilson 1,357 1,265 92
45 Willie McGee 1,351 55 1,296
46 Larry Doby* 1,342 1,330 0 Includes 12 in Negro National League (second) (incomplete)
47 Dom DiMaggio 1,337 1,337 0
48 Andrew McCutchen (0) 1,332 0 1,332
49 Lance Johnson 1,327 890 437
50 Lloyd Moseby 1,325 1,325 0
51 Mike Trout (0) 1,320 1,320 0
52 Rick Manning 1,317 1,317 0
53 Brian McRae 1,307 619 688
54 Johnny Damon 1,298 1,298 0
55 Jim Busby 1,265 1,257 8
56 Curtis Granderson 1,254 1,136 118
57 Omar Moreno 1,221 188 1,033
58 Jimmy Piersall 1,212 1,174 38
59 Lenny Dykstra 1,211 0 1,211
60 Juan Pierre 1,193 0 1,193
61 Carlos Gómez 1,191 513 678
62 Terry Moore 1,185 0 1,185
63 Jimmy Wynn 1,182 0 1,182
64 Dwayne Murphy 1,179 1,174 5
65 Mickey Stanley 1,175 1,175 0
66 Dexter Fowler 1,170 111 1,059
67 Michael Bourn 1,159 324 835
B.J. Upton 1,159 828 331
69 Coco Crisp 1,158 1,158 0
70 Earle Combs* 1,157 1,157 0
Dave Henderson 1,157 1,149 8
72 Aaron Rowand 1,155 456 699
73 Ginger Beaumont 1,150 0 1,150 Held National League record, 1910-1920
Hi Myers 1,150 0 1,150
Robin Yount* 1,150 1,150 0
76 Bill Tuttle 1,146 1,146 0
77 Mickey Rivers 1,144 1,144 0
78 Ray Lankford 1,138 0 1,138
79 Otis Nixon 1,137 632 505
80 Jim Landis 1,128 1,125 3
81 Gary Pettis 1,125 1,112 13
82 Andy Van Slyke 1,119 16 1,103
83 Del Unser 1,117 541 576
84 Jacoby Ellsbury 1,105 1,105 0
85 Mike Kreevich 1,096 1,095 1
86 Baby Doll Jacobson 1,095 1,095 0
87 Roy Thomas 1,082 0 1,082
88 Cesar Geronimo 1,079 40 1,039
89 Sam Chapman 1,076 1,076 0
Cy Seymour 1,076 3 1,073
91 Vince DiMaggio 1,070 0 1,070
Denard Span 1,070 449 621
93 Mookie Wilson 1,067 160 907
94 Ellis Burks 1,061 722 339
95 Dale Murphy 1,041 0 1,041
96 Lorenzo Cain 1,032 634 398
Darren Lewis 1,032 476 556
98 Andre Dawson* 1,027 0 1,027
99 Fielder Jones 1,026 1,026 0 Held American League record, 1907-1915
100 Bill North 1,023 613 410

Other Hall of Famers

Player Games as a center fielder Other leagues, notes
MLB American League National League
Billy Hamilton* † 990 0 990
Turkey Stearnes* 967 0 0 Includes 615 in Negro National League (first), 176 in Negro National League (second),
133 in Negro American League, 43 in Negro Southern League (incomplete)
Cool Papa Bell* 944 0 0 Includes 632 in Negro National League (first), 257 in Negro National League (second),
39 in East–West League, 16 in Negro American League (incomplete)
Hack Wilson* 913 0 913
Al Simmons* 775 775 0
Kiki Cuyler* 691 0 691
Hugh Duffy* † 680 68 593 Includes 17 in Players' League, 2 in American Association
Sam Rice* 607 607 0
Oscar Charleston* 585 0 0 Includes 293 in Negro National League (first), 227 in Eastern Colored League,
65 in American Negro League (incomplete)
Al Kaline* 489 489 0
Sam Crawford* † 480 446 34
Jim O'Rourke* † 463 0 418 Includes 44 in National Association, 1 in Players' League
Rickey Henderson* 446 419 27
Stan Musial* 331 0 331
Joe Kelley* † 329 46 283
Cristóbal Torriente* 327 0 0 Includes 327 in Negro National League (first) (incomplete)
Heinie Manush* 312 312 0
Hank Aaron* 308 0 308
Freddie Lindstrom* 295 0 295
Chick Hafey* 280 0 280
Casey Stengel* 274 0 274
Craig Biggio* 255 0 255
Willard Brown* 253 1 0 Includes 252 in Negro American League (incomplete)
Ed Delahanty* † 250 0 239 Includes 11 in Players' League
George Davis* † 243 0 243
Roger Bresnahan* † 232 15 217
Dave Winfield* 223 78 145
Billy Southworth* 217 30 187
Reggie Jackson* 188 188 0
Harry Wright* † 177 0 1 Includes 176 in National Association
Tim Raines* 165 3 162
Carl Yastrzemski* 165 165 0
Tony Gwynn* 157 0 157
Mel Ott* 140 0 140
Elmer Flick* † 126 126 0
Lou Brock* 115 0 115
John Montgomery Ward* † 110 0 110
Ralph Kiner* 75 0 75
Harry Heilmann* 72 72 0
Larry Walker* 69 0 69
Honus Wagner* † 68 0 68
Pete Hill* 62 0 0 Includes 59 in Negro National League (first), 3 in Eastern Colored League (incomplete)
Monte Irvin* 62 0 1 Includes 61 in Negro National League (second) (incomplete)
Paul Molitor* 42 42 0
Martín Dihigo* 33 0 0 Includes 26 in Negro National League (second), 5 in American Negro League,
2 in Eastern Colored League (incomplete)
Joe Medwick* 19 0 19

Notes

  1. ^ A player is considered inactive if he has announced his retirement or has not played for a full season.

References

  1. ^ Section 20 of the official scorer guidelines
  2. ^ "Willie Mays Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  3. ^ Saccoman, John. "Willie Mays Bio". Society For American Baseball Research. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  4. ^ "Willie Mays Hall of Fame Profile". National Baseball Hall of Fame. Retrieved August 1, 2021.
  5. ^ "Tris Speaker Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  6. ^ "Steve Finley Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  7. ^ "Willie Davis Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  8. ^ "Ty Cobb Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  9. ^ "Ken Griffey Jr. Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.
  10. ^ "Doc Cramer Career Stats". Baseball Reference. Retrieved July 23, 2021.