Decades of Excellence: Cardinal Center Fielders

The Cardinals have had a legacy of good center fielders over the years - in the 40's it was Terry Moore, in the 60's it was Flood, in the 80's McGee, Ray Lankford in the 90's and for much of our current decade, Jim Edmonds. We won't include Moore at the moment, Rally's Historical WAR database doesn't go back that far yet, but let's look at the others, starting with their defense.

 

Curt Flood was pretty darn awesome. Mr. Sexy Half Shirts played shallow and at times made catches look more difficult then they really were, but he had one great season and a few really good ones. Lankford himself had a couple of very nice seasons with the leather, but as typical with someone dubbed "Ray the K", no one noticed. McGee won three Gold Gloves but never had a single season like any of these three, but he was more consistent than Lankford.

No majors surprises here.  Lankford was not quite on Edmonds' level but had five seasons in where he was 20 runs above average. Willie McGee had one MVP season, a solid season and not a lot after that. Flood had a mix of good and bad.

Now let's look at their seasonal WAR -

Wear and tear caused Edmonds' career to quickly go splat, but I believe he has a decent argument for the Hall of Fame, though I doubt he gets there. Flood's glove helps him almost catch up with Lankford and his bat, but not quite. Lankford's average WAR per season as a CF was 3.7, Flood's was 3.2. Willie McGee is beloved by Cardinal fans for his hustle and humble demeanor, there is even an effort to retire his jersey number, but when it all shakes out he brings up the rear in this group.

Any suggestions on other teams that have had a legacy of very good/great players at a certain position? 

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