A center fielder, abbreviated CF, is the outfielder in baseball who plays defense in center field - the baseball fielding position between left field and right field. In the numbering system used to record defensive plays, the center fielder is assigned the number 8.
Outfielders must cover large distances, so speed, instincts and quickness to react to the ball are key. They must be able to catch fly balls above their head and on the run. They must be able to throw the ball accurately over a long distance to be effective. Amateur players may find it difficult to concentrate on the game, since they are so far from the action. Emphasizing the correct position will give outfield players something to concentrate on at each pitch.
As well as the requirements above, the center fielder will be the outfielder who has the best combination of speed and throwing distance. The center fielder covers more ‘grass’ than any other player (see photo) and, most likely, will catch the most fly balls. The center fielder also has the greatest responsibility among the three outfielders for coordinating their play to prevent collisions when converging on a fly ball. Aside from requiring more speed and range, the center field position is slightly easier to field because balls tend to fly on a straight path, rather than curving as they do for the other outfield positions. Because the center fielder requires a good arm and fast legs, center field is generally considered one of the positions which produces power hitters; many center fielders such as Carlos Beltrán of the New York Mets are renowned as excellent batters and base runners. During the 1990s Ken Griffey Jr. (especially during the early part of his career), was another center fielder who excelled in both batting and fielding.
Notable Center Fielders
Bold indicates an active player
Italics indicates a Hall of Famer
|Outfielders:||Left field | Center field | Right field|
|Infielders:||3rd base | Shortstop | 2nd base | 1st base|