300 Game Outfields

As a follow-up to my earlier post on 300 game infields, this piece looks at outfield trios that have played together most often. With one less position, there are more outfield groups with 300 game starts than in the infield, but this is still a very unusual occurrence.

Three hundred games is less than two seasons worth, so it may not seem like a lot. But, with the reality that outfielders tend to be quite interchangeable, having the same set of three outfielders start as many as 300 games together is still quite a rarity.

More after the jump.

I couldn’t devise any systematic way (other than brute force) to identify precisely which set of outfielders have started 300 games together, so there may be more than the following 28 clubs. But, I doubt there are many more. To identify threesomes to check, I first found those players who had played 400 games for a franchise at one outfield position, then looked for years when there was such a player at each position for that team. 400 games is rather arbitrary, of course, but I reasoned there would likely need to be at least this many (probably more) for even a remote chance of matching up with two other contemporary players at the other two positions. I then evaluated over 100 potential combinations using the Defensive Starting Lineups on Baseball-Reference.com to arrive at the 28 clubs below. Note that the Defensive Starting Lineups are only available for seasons since 1914, so I have necessarily excluded those outfields that played all or part of their seasons together before 1914.

For the 300 game threshold, unless denoted below in italicized font, the outfield combinations are for the listed left, center and right fielders only, excluding other positional permutations of those same three players. The italicized entries (all involving Babe Ruth) include one other permutation (swapping the left and right fielder in each case) as that alternate defensive alignment was consistently and intentionally practiced in order to play Ruth in either left or right field depending on the ballpark and the Yankee starting pitcher.

  1. 556 games – 1920-25 Browns (Ken WilliamsJack TobinBaby Doll Jacobson)
  2. 552 games – 1981-89 Blue Jays (George BellLloyd MosebyJesse Barfield)
  3. 542 games – 1956-63 Pirates (Bob SkinnerBill VirdonRoberto Clemente)
  4. 486 games1924-29 Yankees (Bob Meusel, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth)
  5. 418 games – 1916-23 Tigers (Harry HeilmannTy CobbBobby Veach)
  6. 394 games – 1939-48 Yankees (Charlie KellerJoe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich)
  7. 390 games – 1954-58 Red Sox (Ted Williams, Jim Piersall, Jackie Jensen)
  8. 387 games – 2008-11 Astros (Carlos LeeMichael BournHunter Pence)
  9. 386 games – 1931-38 Pirates (Woody JensenLloyd WanerPaul Waner)
  10. 375 games – 1975-80 Reds (George FosterCesar GeronimoKen Griffey)
  11. 365 games – 1966-70 Pirates (Willie StargellMatty AlouRoberto Clemente)
  12. 362 games – 1921-25 White Sox (Bibb Falk, Johnny Mostil, Harry Hooper)
  13. 361 games – 1976-79 Expos (Warren CromartieAndre DawsonEllis Valentine)
  14. 358 games – 1919-22 Robins (Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Tommy Griffith)
  15. 344 games – 1927-33 Pirates (Adam ComoroskyLloyd WanerPaul Waner)
  16. 340 games1922-24 Yankees (Bob Meusel, Whitey Witt, Babe Ruth)
  17. 337 games – 1983-86 Red Sox (Jim Rice, Tony Armas, Dwight Evans)
  18. 328 games – 1930-34 Indians (Joe VosmikEarl AverillDick Porter)
  19. 325 games – 1928-31 Cubs (Riggs Stephenson, Hack Wilson, Kiki Cuyler)
  20. 323 games – 1975-80 Red Sox (Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans)
  21. 316 games – 1961-63 Tigers (Rocky ColavitoBill BrutonAl Kaline)
  22. 313 games1931-34 Yankees (Ben Chapman, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth)
  23. 310 games – 1995-99 Angels (Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Tim Salmon)
  24. 308 games – 1965-74 Tigers (Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, Jim Northrup)
  25. 307 games – 1923-26 Indians (Charlie JamiesonTris SpeakerHomer Summa)
  26. 301 games – 1977-80 Phillies (Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride)
  27. 301 games – 1984-86 Padres (Carmelo MartinezKevin McReynoldsTony Gwynn)
  28. 301 games – 1993-96 Indians (Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez)

Though the correlation with championship teams isn’t as strong as was the case for the 300 game infields, most of the above were better teams, including the highlighted 15 clubs (53.5%) who were league champions at some point during the represented seasons.

Following is a brief narrative on these teams.

 1. 1920-25 Browns (Ken WilliamsJack TobinBaby Doll Jacobson) – 556 games

Browns 1920-25Though they didn’t win a pennant, these Browns teams were among the most competitive during the franchise’s tenure in St. Louis, with a winning record over these seasons and finishing no worse than four games under .500. Included is their 1922 pennant run, falling to the Yankees by only a single game. These were seasoned players, starting their 6-year run together at ages 28, 29 and 30. The breakup was swift with Tobin dealt before the 1926 season and Jacobson during that 92-loss campaign, followed by Williams’ sale to the Red Sox after another 90 loss season in 1927.

 2. 1981-89 Blue Jays (George BellLloyd MosebyJesse Barfield) – 552 games

Blue Jays 1981-89These three all came up in the Toronto organization and were all aged 21 when they first played together in 1981 when Barfield debuted as a September call-up. They next appeared together, again briefly, in 1983, Toronto’s first winning season after the franchise began its existence with six straight losing campaigns. A second-place finish in 1984 was followed by a division crown in 1985 that was almost a pennant when the Blue Jays took a 3-1 lead in the first best-of-7 ALCS before falling to the Royals. Toronto finished at least 10 games over .500 for the next three seasons but squandered a division crown in 1987 with an 0-7 collapse to finish two games back of the Tigers, followed by a furious 15-3 rally to close out the 1988 season but again falling two games short, this time behind the Red Sox. Barfield was dealt to the Yankees early in 1989 season, while the other two departed as free agents, Moseby to Detroit after that 1989 season, and Bell to the Cubs a year later.

  3. 1956-63 Pirates (Bob SkinnerBill VirdonRoberto Clemente) – 542 games
11. 1966-70 Pirates (Willie StargellMatty AlouRoberto Clemente) – 365 games

Pirates 1956-63The first trio started together as youngsters, with the 25 year-old Virdon the oldest of the three when he arrived from St. Louis early in the 1956 season. Those Pirates were coming off a run of four straight last-place finishes and only one winning season in 10 years. That losing skein ended with a run of three straight winning seasons (1958-60) culminating in the 1960 NL championship and an improbable World Series win over the powerful Yankees, despite being outscored in the series by a 2 to 1 margin. Skinner would be dealt to the Reds early in the 1963 season while Virdon remained as the regular center-fielder until losing his job in 1966 to Matty Alou, newly acquired from the Giants.

Pirates 1966-70Alou’s arrival marked the beginning of the second of these outfields, teaming with incumbents Clemente and Stargell, the latter having seen increasing playing time in left field since Skinner’s departure three years before. The Pirates of the late 1960s were a competitive team, finishing just three games back of the champion Dodgers in 1966 and claiming their first of three successive NL East crowns in 1970. Alou was dealt to St. Louis following that 1970 season, while Clemente and Stargell would remain Pirates for their entire Hall of Fame careers, Clemente’s ending tragically following the 1972 season, and Stargell’s a decade after that.

16. 1922-24 Yankees (Bob Meusel, Whitey Witt, Babe Ruth) – 340 games
  4. 1924-29 Yankees (Bob Meusel, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth – 486 games
22. 1931-34 Yankees (Ben Chapman, Earle Combs, Babe Ruth) – 313 games

Yankees 1922-24Yankees 1924-29Yankees 1931-34These three Yankee outfields encompassed most of Babe Ruth’s tenure with New York and included 7 Yankee pennant winning teams and 5 World Series champions. The 1922 Yankees were coming off an AL championship season in 1921 but were quite a different team from the year before with new regulars at shortstop, third base and in center field following the acquisition of Whitey Witt from the Athletics. In 1921, Ruth and Meusel had been everyday players in left and right field respectively, but in 1922 manager Miller Huggins went back to the pattern he employed in 1920 of having Ruth swap positions with the other corner outfielder depending on the ballpark and the Yankee starting pitcher. This stratagem would be practiced by Huggins and succeeding managers Bob Shawkey and Joe McCarthy for the rest of Ruth’s career with the Yankees. Combs beat out Witt for the center field job in 1925 and would hold it for 9 seasons. The 32 year-old Meusel was sold to the Reds following the 1929 season, creating the opportunity in 1931 for the 22 year-old Chapman, who had debuted the year before as an infielder. Ruth was released by the Yankees before the 1935 season, Combs retired at the end of that campaign, and Chapman was dealt to the Senators early in the following season.

 5. 1916-23 Tigers (Harry HeilmannTy CobbBobby Veach) – 418 games

Tigers 1916-23Cobb was the veteran incumbent in Veach’s 1913 rookie season, the same year 18 year-old Heilmann was acquired by the Tigers in the Rule V draft. These three first appeared together three years later and would be Detroit’s regular outfield from 1916 until Heilmann entered military service about half-way into the 1918 season. Returning in 1919, Heilmann was moved to first base for two seasons in which he led AL first sackers in errors both times, thus resulting in an outfield reunion for this group for three seasons starting in 1921. The Tigers finished four games back of the champion Red Sox in 1916 and would not get any closer to the title over this period of 5 winning seasons and 3 losing campaigns. Veach was the first to depart, sold to the Red Sox before the 1924 season. Cobb left for Philadelphia in 1927, and Heilmann for Cincinnati after the 1929 season.

 6. 1939-48 Yankees (Charlie KellerJoe DiMaggio, Tommy Henrich) – 394 games

Yankees 1939-48This was the Yankees first consistent outfield in the post-Ruth era, with DiMaggio debuting in 1936, Henrich the next year and Keller in 1939. All three would see military service during World War II (otherwise this trio might well have surpassed 600 game starts together), limiting the group to just the 1939-42 and 1946-48 seasons, during which New York won four pennants and three World Series (plus another pennant and World Series in the intervening years). The trio last started together in 1948, when Henrich started splitting time between the outfield and first base. All three would remain active on the Yankees’ 1949 championship team, though Keller saw very limited action and was released after the season and subsequently signed with Detroit (he made a cameo appearance as a Yankee in 1952 to close out his career). The other two remained Yankees their entire careers, Henrich’s ending after the 1950 season and DiMaggio’s a year later.

 7. 1954-58 Red Sox (Ted Williams, Jim Piersall, Jackie Jensen) – 390 games

Red Sox 1954-58After military service in Korea for most of the two preceding seasons, Williams returned in 1954 with two new outfield mates, the promising 24 year-old Piersall, who had placed 9th in MVP voting the previous year as Boston’s everyday right-fielder, and the 27 year-old Jensen, a 1952 All-Star selection whom the Red Sox had inexplicably pried from the Senators for scatter-armed pitcher Mickey McDermott and outfielder Tom Umphlett, the RoY runner-up the year before (despite that promise, Umphlett would flame out quickly in Washington, after two seasons of .218/.263/.268). Initially, Jensen was deployed in center with Piersall keeping his right-field spot from the previous season (the trio made an additional 59 starts in this alignment) before those two swapped positions (permanently, as it turned out) before the end of the 1954 season. No longer the powerhouse team of the late 1940s and early 1950s, the new look Red Sox revived during this period with four solid winning seasons (1955-58) though they never really threatened the Yankees in any of those years. Jensen blossomed into a feared slugger with Boston, placing 3rd in AL home runs for 1954-59 and first in RBI (by the hefty margin of 70 RBIs over runner-up Mickey Mantle). Piersall developed into the premier AL defensive center-fielder of that time but was dealt in his prime to Cleveland after the 1958 season for 34 year-old Vic Wertz (something of a bonehead deal for Boston, after the inspired trade for Jensen). Williams, 35 years old in 1954, finished his legendary career with the Red Sox, posting a 189 OPS+ for the rest of his career, 3rd best all-time for age 35+ (min. 1000 PA), after Barry Bonds and Babe Ruth.

 8. 2008-11 Astros (Carlos LeeMichael BournHunter Pence) – 387 games

Astros 2008-11Pence had turned in a promising rookie season for Houston in 2007 when joined the next year by the 25 year-old Bourn (acquired in an off-season trade from the Phillies) and the 32 year-old veteran Lee (a free agent signing). In their first season together, Houston improved by 13 games from the 73-89 record in 2007 that had cost manager Phil Garner his job. But, when the Astros regressed to 74-88 in 2009, Garner’s successor Cecil Cooper suffered the same fate. With Houston going nowhere in 2011 (their first of three straight 100 loss seasons), Bourn and Pence were traded away in deadline deals, followed by Lee midway into the next season.

15. 1927-33 Pirates (Adam ComoroskyLloyd WanerPaul Waner) – 344 games
  9. 1931-38 Pirates (Woody JensenLloyd WanerPaul Waner) – 386 games

Pirates 1927-33Pirates 1931-38
The Waner brothers manned center and right field for Pittsburgh for 14 straight seasons, starting with the twelve years represented here. Comorosky and Jensen were both developed by the Pirates and each had similar, mostly non-descript, careers. Comorosky had one big year, with 82 extra-base hits in 1930, the most ever in a season with twelve or fewer home runs. Jensen totaled 400 hits for the 1935 and 1936 seasons but only 31 walks, still the most seasons with 190 hits and fewer than 20 walks (since tied by Garry Templeton). This period started out with an NL championship in 1927 and almost finished the same way when the Bucs held a two game lead late in the 1938 season before handing the title to the Cubs with a 1-6 finish. Comorosky was traded to the Reds after the 1933 season and Jensen finished his career as a Pirate in 1939. Paul Waner was released after the 1940 season and Lloyd was traded early the next year, after which both bounced around as wartime fill-ins with various clubs.

10. 1975-80 Reds (George FosterCesar GeronimoKen Griffey) – 375 games

Reds 1975-80Foster was acquired from the Giants midway in the 1971 season and was the Reds’ regular center-fielder the rest of that season. But, with Bobby Tolan returning in 1972 from a season-long injury, Foster became a spare part in the Red outfield, totaling fewer than 200 PA in 1972 and 1973 combined, before increasing to just over 300 PA for 1974. The logjam broke in 1975 when Pete Rose moved from left field to third base with Foster taking Rose’s outfield spot. The same year, the 25 year-old Ken Griffey had his first season as a regular, taking the right field position vacated by Geronimo after he had moved to center following Tolan’s trade to the Padres the year before. The retooled Big Red Machine now entered its most dominant period, with 100 win seasons and world championships in 1975 and 1976. In the latter season, Foster placed second in MVP voting and then took that title in 1977 with monster totals of 52 home runs and 149 RBI. The Reds kept on winning with at least 88 victories each of these seasons, including another NL West crown in 1979. Geronimo departed for Kansas City following the 1980 season, with Griffey and Foster leaving a year later for the Yankees and Mets, respectively. So ended the era of the Big Red Machine as Cincinnati cratered to 101 losses in 1982.

12. 1921-25 White Sox (Bibb Falk, Johnny Mostil, Harry Hooper) – 362 games

White Sox 1921-25With Chicago decimated by the lifetime ban of several of their regulars, the White Sox had a completely new outfield in 1921 with rookies Falk and Mostil and 33 year-old veteran Hooper, acquired from the Red Sox. The rebuilding process was slow, with the White Sox able to muster  only a couple of .500 seasons in the five years this group was together. Hooper retired after the 1925 season, Falk was traded to Cleveland before the 1929 campaign, and Mostil lost his job, first to Alex Metzler in 1927, and finally to Dutch Hoffman two years after that.

13. 1976-79 Expos (Warren CromartieAndre DawsonEllis Valentine) – 361 games

Expos 1976-79All three players were born within 10 months of each other and developed in the Expos system (Montreal was the fifth team to draft Cromartie, but the first to get his signature on a contract). Valentine was a rookie in the 1976 season that saw the Expos lose 107 games under new manager Karl Kuehl, who did not last the season. Dawson and Cromartie had their rookie seasons the next year under new manager Dick Williams as the Expos improved by 20 games from the nightmare season the year before. Montreal was in the thick of the pennant chase in 1979, falling just two games short of the Pirates, and again in 1980, finishing a game back of the Phillies. Cromartie moved to first base in that 1980 season, Valentine was traded to the Mets early in the 1981 campaign, while Dawson remained with the Expos until 1986, before turning in an MVP season for the Cubs in 1987.

14. 1919-22 Robins (Zack Wheat, Hi Myers, Tommy Griffith) – 358 games

Robins 1919-22Wheat and Myers were the veteran incumbents on these Robins teams and had both been regulars when Brooklyn claimed the 1916 NL pennant. Griffith was acquired from the Reds before the 1919 season in a straight-up trade for 34 year-old first baseman Jake Daubert, the NL MVP in 1913. Brooklyn would be NL champions again in 1920, falling to the Indians in a World Series remembered for the unassisted triple play by Cleveland’s Bill Wambsganss. That championship season was followed by a couple of .500 campaigns before Myers was traded to the Cardinals before the 1923 season. Griffith was dealt to the Cubs early in the 1925 season and Wheat was released after the following season before finishing his Hall of Fame career in Philadelphia with Ty Cobb and Eddie Collins.

20. 1975-80 Red Sox (Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Dwight Evans) – 323 games
17. 1983-86 Red Sox (Jim Rice, Tony Armas, Dwight Evans) – 337 games

Red Sox 1975-80

Rice, Lynn and Evans all developed in the Red Sox system (Lynn was first drafted by the Yankees but didn’t sign with them). Evans had his rookie season in 1973, and Rice and Lynn followed two years later as Boston was the surprise 1975 AL champion, upsetting the three-time world champion Athletics in a memorable ALCS. Lynn was RoY and MVP that year, while Rice placed second and third in those votes. Rice had his MVP season in 1978, his second of three successive campaigns with 200 hits, including 80 for extra-bases and 35 home runs, a unique three-peat. Boston gave up a huge lead in the AL East race that year before falling to the Yankees in a one game playoff. Lynn was brilliant, when he was healthy, but concerns over his durability prompted a trade to the Angels before the 1981 season.

Red Sox 1983-86Boston found its next center-fielder via a trade with the Athletics after the 1982 season. Armas was no Lynn with his glove but provided some welcome power and run production with 35+ home runs and 100+ RBI his first two seasons in Boston. In their last season together in 1986, the Red Sox were AL champions and were one out away from a world championship before the Mets scored three times to take game 6, capping that comeback with a game 7 triumph. Rice contributed 5.6 WAR that year, his last big season before finishing his Hall of Fame career in 1989. Evans, consistent and reliable almost every year, would finish a 20 year career with Boston in 1991.

18. 1930-34 Indians (Joe VosmikEarl AverillDick Porter) – 328 games

Indians 1930-34Averill and Porter were 27 year-old rookies in 1929, while the more precocious Vosmik had his rookie campaign as a 21 year-old in 1931. After finishing 20+ games under .500 in 1927 and 1928, Cleveland improved to a middle-of-the-pack team during the tenure of this group. Porter was dealt to the Red Sox early in the 1934 season, Vosmik went to the Browns in 1937 and Averill left for Detroit two years after that.

19. 1928-31 Cubs (Riggs Stephenson, Hack Wilson, Kiki Cuyler) – 325 games

Cubs 1928-31This veteran group all arrived in Chicago from other teams, Stephenson and Wilson in 1926 and Cuyler two years after that. In their first season together, the Cubs won 90 games for the first time in 16 years, repeating that performance in a pennant-winning 1929 season, and again in 1930 when they finished just two games back of the Cardinals. In the latter season, Wilson produced the prodigious totals of 56 home runs and an all-time record 191 RBI. The other two were no slouches; Cuyler led the majors in stolen bases three times while averaging 35 doubles and 100 RBI for these four seasons, and Stephenson raked at a .344/.421/.493 clip, still impressive even in that inflated run scoring era. Wilson was dealt to Brooklyn after the 1931 season, Cuyler went to the Reds during the 1935 campaign while Stephenson finished his career in Chicago in 1934.

21. 1961-63 Tigers (Rocky ColavitoBill BrutonAl Kaline) – 316 games
24. 1965-74 Tigers (Willie Horton, Mickey Stanley, Jim Northrup) – 308 games

Tigers 1961-63Kaline was the long-time incumbent in the Tiger outfield when Colavito arrived from  Cleveland in 1960, and Bruton from Milwaukee the next season. Eleven years removed from its last 90 win season, Detroit did even better than that, winning 100 games in 1961, the first time for the Tigers since 1934 but, alas, not enough to catch the high-flying Yankees. In their three seasons together, Kaline raked at a .315/.382/.535 clip, batting .300 each of those seasons, the only such three-peat of his career. Colavito mashed to the tune of 104 home runs and 343 RBI, while Bruton, not known as a home run hitter, contributed some pop with 17 and 16 home runs in his first two Tiger seasons. In a baffling move, Colavito was shipped after the 1963 season to the lowly A’s who had little to offer in return, while the 38 year-old Bruton retired after the 1964 campaign.

Tigers 1965-74The Tigers went to their youngsters for their next set of outfielders, with Horton and Northrup playing their rookie seasons in 1965 and Stanley having his in 1966. Kaline, of course, remained a fixture in the Tiger outfield over this decade though, curiously, did not figure in this trio. That’s because he, Horton, Stanley, Northrup and Gates Brown were used in a myriad of combinations over this period with the result that only Horton, Stanley and Northrup started 300 games together, followed by Horton/Northrup/Kaline with 257 starts and Horton/Stanley/Kaline with 214. During this decade, the Tigers were world champions in 1968, and won the AL East crown in 1972, narrowly losing a thrilling ALCS to the Athletics. Northrup was dealt to the Expos during the 1974 season, Horton went to Texas in 1977, and Kaline and Stanley played their entire careers in Detroit, ending in 1974 and 1978 respectively.

23. 1995-99 Angels (Garret Anderson, Jim Edmonds, Tim Salmon) – 310 games

Angels 1995-99This trio were all brought up in the Angel organization and played their rookie seasons in 1993 (Salmon), 1994 (Edmonds) and 1995 (Anderson). Edmonds showed an outstanding glove, and he and Salmon also beat you with their bats, each clubbing at least 25 home runs for this group’s first four seasons. Anderson was a consistent .300 hitter and provided durability, playing 150 games in each of the trio’s last four seasons together. Edmonds was traded to St, Louis before the 2000 season, Salmon played his entire career as an Angel, retiring in 2006, and Anderson stayed in LA for almost his whole career, before signing with the Braves in 2009.

25. 1923-26 Indians (Charlie JamiesonTris SpeakerHomer Summa) – 307 games

Indians 1923-26Jamieson and Speaker were the long-time incumbents in this Indian outfield, both veterans of Cleveland’s world championship season in 1920. Summa joined those two in his 1923 rookie season, a solid campaign of .328/.374/.419 that complemented Jamieson’s league-leading 222 hits and Speaker’s 9.0 WAR (tied with Willie Mays for the highest WAR total for a center-fielder aged 35 or older). Despite those heroics, Cleveland could finish no better than a distant 3rd to the powerful Yankees. In this trio’s last season together, the Indians challenged the Yankees for the pennant, climbing to within 2.5 games on Sep 18th after a four-game sweep of New York. But, losing 3 of 4 to the Athletics in the season-ending series sealed Cleveland’s fate, as the Yankees again prevailed. The Indians released Speaker after that 1926 season but he quickly signed on with the Senators. Summa went to the A’s for their world championship season in 1929 and Jamieson played the rest of his career in Cleveland, ending in 1932.

T26. 1977-80 Phillies (Greg Luzinski, Garry Maddox, Bake McBride) – 301 games

Phillies 1977-80Luzinski and Maddox were the incumbents in Philadelphia’s outfield when McBride joined them in 1977 after a mid-season trade from St. Louis. Philadelphia had won the NL East crown in 1976 and were repeat division winners the next two years, but lost all three of those NLCS series. In this group’s final season together in 1980, the Phillies put it all together to claim the franchise’s first World Series, defeating the Royals in their first AL championship season. Despite three seasons of 30 home runs and 100 RBI, Luzinksi was sold to the White Sox just before the 1981 season, while McBride was traded to the Indians a year later. Maddox would play the rest of his career in Philadelphia, ending in 1986.

T26. 1984-86 Padres (Carmelo MartinezKevin McReynoldsTony Gwynn) – 301 games

Padres 1984-86This trio played their rookie seasons in 1982 (Gwynn), 1983 (McReynolds) and 1984 (Martinez), with all three having their first season as everyday players in that 1984 campaign. Gwynn led the league in hits and batting that year, the first of 6 times he would do both in the same season, while Martinez and McReynolds showed some pop (13 and 20 home runs) and a decent batting eye (68 and 69 walks), those contributions helping to propel the Padres to the franchise’s first NL championship. With the club 9 games worse the next season, and another 9 games off the year after that, the Padres shook things up by packaging McReynolds in a deal that brought 5 players from the Mets (including a young Kevin Mitchell who had placed 3rd in RoY voting the previous season). Martinez left via free agency after the 1989 season while Gwynn would play his entire Hall of Fame career with the Padres, ending in 2001.

T26. 1993-96 Indians (Albert Belle, Kenny Lofton, Manny Ramirez) – 301 games

Indians 1993-96Belle and Lofton were the incumbents in Cleveland’s outfield when Ramirez debuted with a September call-up in 1993. Manny would place second in RoY voting in the strike-shortened 1994 season in which Belle raked at a phenomenal .357/.438/.714 clip while Lofton swiped 60 bags and stroked 160 hits, both league-leading totals. The next year, this group would lead Cleveland to its first AL pennant in 41 years as, despite an abbreviated season, Belle turned in baseball’s only 50 double/50 home run campaign. Ramirez recorded the first of twelve 30 home run/100 RBI seasons (second only to A-Rod’s total of 14), while Lofton again led his league in stolen bases (the fourth of five successive seasons) despite missing 26 games.Belle left as free agent after the 1996 season and Lofton was dealt to Atlanta just before the next campaign (but would return to Cleveland as a free agent in 1998). Ramirez stayed until 2000, before signing a monster free agent deal with the Red Sox.

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22 Comments on "300 Game Outfields"

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Richard Chester
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Ruth was actually a LF but refused to play there in ball parks in which LF was the sunfield. There were 3 such parks, Yankee Stadium, Griffith Stadium and Cleveland’s League Park. And in those 3 parks he played RF.

Dr. Doom
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Doug, this is just wonderful. Thanks for finding the time between COG posts to continue doing this amazing analysis!

Hartvig
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I was surprised the Edmonds/Anderson/Salmon trio didn’t play more games together but I guess that even at that early age Edmonds was getting banged up a lot & I was completely unaware of Salmon’s season as a DH.

Good stuff.

e pluribus munu
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Just as I enjoyed dipping into the IF version of this again and again, I’m looking forward to a week or two of slowly going through this post, following the links and recreating the teams. These are wonderful ways to wander through baseball history, and like others posting here, I really appreciate the effort (including the careful links that make these posts so easy to explore)!

Richard Chester
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The Speaker-Hooper-Lewis OF does not appear because their only common years on the Red Sox with BR available defensive starting lineups are 1914-1915. They started 258 games together during that time span. The remainder of their common years on the Sox are 1910-1913. Listed below is the number of OF games played by each player of that trio in each of those years, followed by the number of games played by the Sox. 1910–140/155/149/158 1911–138/130/125/153 1912–153/147/154/154 1913–139/147/142/151 If it is assumed all of those games are games started then the minimum number of games started together for each of those… Read more »
e pluribus munu
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That’s quite a total, Richard. I was tracking down Cobb and Crawford, who had a series of third men playing with them, cutting down on three-man longevity, but I found that their time in the field with Veach would have been at least 390 games (1912-17). (Tracking this down, I discovered that Cobb had played a game at 2B in 1913 – how did I not know this? He went 1 for 4 that game: one putout, three errors. He made great strides over time, though: he played a second game at 2B in 1918 and escaped with an .800… Read more »
Doug
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Good one, epm. I eyeballed Veach/Cobb/Crawford but didn’t check out the Defensive Lineups as I decided the odds were pretty remote for 300 games since 1914, with Cobb starting only 96 games in 1914, and Crawford only 78 games in 1916. But, they just make it, with 303 games for 1914-17, including 87 of Cobb’s 98 games, and 63 of Crawford’s 78. They played 135, 118 and 140 games in 1913, plus Veach had a handful in 1912 so, as you say, 400 games is certainly not out of the question. Incidentally, I see that the 1913 game logs are… Read more »
KalineCountry
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Bobby Veach played on what has been considered two of the great outfields in
MLB history. With Cobb and Heilmann, and also with Cobb and Sam Crawford.
I was curious how many games Cobb, Crawford, and Veach played together?
Thankyou in advance.

Hartvig
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KalineCountry

I don’t think the gizmo that Doug used to sort these guys goes back that far so it would have to be done manually. See epm’s post directly above yours for what the minimum # would have been.

KalineCountry
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Just read that Hartvig, Thanks, and also to e pluribus and Doug for info.

Doug
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The Defensive Lineups on B-R only go back to 1914 (i.e. the same as their Game Log data), so I have only looked at combinations where all of their time together happened since that date. But, running the numbers for 1914-17 comes up with 303 games started for Veach/Cobb/Crawford, breaking out as 87-151-63-2 for 1914-17 (that 151 is quite a stunner!).

Artie Z.
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I believe the most games started by a Mets trio of outfielders is 238 by the Foster, Wilson, and Strawberry combination from 1983-1986 (89, 104, 29, 16). It’s amazing how much has to go right to get to 300 games. An earlier call-up for Strawberry in 1983, injuries that overlapped for Wilson and Strawberry in 1985, and a better year from Foster in 1986 all would have helped. 1985 was probably the biggest drag on their chances. They started 12 of the first 25 games, then didn’t start a game together until game 70, then didn’t start together again until… Read more »
Doug
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Another example is the Indian group at #25 on the list. Homer Summa started just 32 games in RF in 1925, but none were with Jamieson and Speaker, despite those two having 131 and 109 starts at the other two outfield spots.

Jim
Guest

George Bell actually went to the Cubs from the Jays. He didn’t become a White Sox for another year, when the Sox traded relief pitcher Ken Patterson and an outfield prospect for him.

Paul E
Guest

Biggest surprise for me? # 8 – Houston Astros Pence Bourn Lee…no kidding

Gary Bateman
Guest

Doug,

I was wondering if you were planning to do a similar post regarding starting pitchers/catchers. There couldn’t be many with 300 games (maybe Lolich/Freehan and/or Ruffing/Dickey), but maybe the number would increase if 200 or 250 was used.

Scott
Guest

I think you may have missed some Bell / Moseby / Barfield games in 1983 (you started counting in 1984, it appears). Bell started 26 games in LF that year, Moseby had 135 starts in CF, and Barfield played 118 games in RF (94 starts). So I’m sure they must have started some of those together. With them being only 8 games out of 2nd in your list, and 22 games out of 1st spot, the top could shuffle dramatically.

Doug
Guest

You are absolutely right, Scott. Thanks for spotting that error.

The Blue Jay trio started 11 games in 1983 and another 7 in 1981, to raise their total to 552 games, good enough to move into second place.

I’ll make the correction in the post.

mosc
Guest

Looking at that Ruth chunk is amazing. The yankees had the big stars and all but they also had so many consistent role players that contributed. I guess a lot of them are in the hall of fame with fairly low stats due to their long-time associations with the great Yankee legends but guys like Earl Combs, Phil Rizzuto, Hank Bauer, Tommy Henrich, Red Ruffing, Lefty Gomez, Charlie Keller, all had long careers among the titans. They won rings for reasons beyond Ruth, Gehrig, DiMaggio, and Mantle.

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