Yes, I know none of these players were primarily centerfielders, but both Gibson and McReynolds played over 300 games in centerfield, so I’d feel comfortable playing either in that position on this team. Now that that’s out of the way, between these three players are a Rookie of the Year Award, an MVP, and four other top-10 MVP seasons — but zero All-Star appearances.
McReynolds was a pretty solid player for both the Padres and Mets. He recorded six seasons with at least 20 home runs (back when 25 meant you were in the Top 20 in all of baseball) and finished third in MVP voting in 1988 — when Kirk Gibson won the MVP. McReynolds also had four straight seasons from 1986 to 1989 where he batted in at least 85 runs every year. He was also a decent base stealer, accruing 93 stolen bases throughout his career while only being caught 32 times.
Gibson was another obvious choice. When you win an MVP award, but still never earn an All-Star bid, you’re pretty much a given for any list like this. More well known for his three years with the Dodgers — when he won his MVP award and hit one of the most iconic home runs in MLB history — Gibson’s best stretch of baseball came earlier in his career with the Detroit Tigers. In his final four seasons in the Motor City, Gibson never failed to record an OPS under .860, which was his exact OPS in 1988 when he won the MVP. Gibson should’ve made the All-Star team in 1985 when he .296 with 18 home runs and 61 RBI in the first half of the season, but he was glossed over in favor of Rickey Henderson, Dave Winfield, Jim Rice, Harold Baines, Phil Bradley, Tom Brunansky, and Gary Ward. By the way, Ward was hitting .282 with only five home runs and 40 RBI at the All-Star break. Gibson definitely deserved a spot over him.
Finally, Tim Salmon — the second-best fish to ever put on an Angels jersey. Salmon put together a four-season stretch in which he finished top-15 in MVP voting three of those years. He had an OPS of over .900 in those three seasons including an OPS of 1.024 in 1995. Salmon was also a pivotal part of the Angels’ World Series run in 2002, when he recorded an .883 OPS with 22 homers and 88 RBI. Salmon finished his career with a .282 average and an OPS+ of 128.
Honorable Mentions: Sixto Lezcano, Oscar Gamble, Dwayne Murphy, Garry Maddox, Bobby Higginson & Shannon Stewart