The history of tremendous baseball players has seen them all trying to reach the top of the mountain in the MLB. Every player has the goal of winning the World Series and being crowned a champion of the sport. Unfortunately, not all great players will have the chance to compete for the World Series. No matter how great one player is, it takes a full team effort to overcome all other teams.
A great hitter will need support from the rest of the lineup and pitching staff as well as vice versa. We will look at the all-time great players that didn’t have a direct path to the World Series in their careers. Each player had a massive impact on the game even if they didn’t get a ring at the end of it all. These are the ten best players in MLB history to never win the World Series.
10 Mike Piazza
Mike Piazza is arguably the greatest hitting catcher in baseball history. Before Piazza, catchers were not expected to have excellent batting numbers as defense and handling the pitchers were most important. Piazza however dominated the game as a top tier player for many years.
The New York Mets came close to winning it all when making the World Series in 2000, but they fell short to the New York Yankees. Even though he didn’t win a World Series, Piazza was the best player on a team that won the National League.
9 Don Mattingly
Most of the all-time great New York Yankees players did win World Series since the franchise has an astonishing 27 rings in their history. Don Mattingly was one of the top fan favorites for fans of the late 80s and early 90s with his superb numbers.
This was one of the few times that the Yankees didn’t pose a viable threat to winning it all. The team started their late 90s dynasty just shortly after Mattingly decided to hang it up. Yankees fans still treat him like a hero due to the impact he had on the team.
8 Sammy Sosa
Some baseball purists will try to take away Sammy Sosa’s accomplishments in baseball due to the steroid history, but he still was the one to do the work. Sosa was one of the faces of MLB during the league’s rise in the late 90s as a member of the Chicago Cubs.
Seven All-Star appearances and an MVP Award showcased just how important Sosa was to the game. The 609 home runs may be tainted in the eyes of some, but Sosa dominated at a time when most players were also using PEDs.
7 Ichiro Suzuki
The MLB career of Ichiro Suzuki saw him become one of the best hitters in the game. Ichiro didn’t hit monster home runs even though he did have some power when he chose to use it. The strengths of Suzuki featured him leading the league in hits quite often.
Ichiro getting on base to start the game as a leadoff hitter gave a huge advantage to the Seattle Mariners to score early and take control of the game. Despite never winning a World Series, Suzuki was one of the faces of the league and helped the MLB grow internationally.
6 Tony Gwynn
San Diego Padres fans were treated to witnessing the incredible career of Tony Gwynn. The run of Gwynn would see him play twenty seasons with 15 All-Star appearances and eight National League batting titles showing just how consistently great he was.
Gwynn made the World Series twice but fell short of winning it both times. San Diego only made the playoffs three times in his entire career as the team often struggled in the NL West. Gwynn still did his best to become arguably the best player in franchise history.
5 Ken Griffey Jr.
Injuries prevented Ken Griffey Jr. from possibly being the top player on this list and maybe even in baseball history. Griffey was one of a kind as he took over the league in the 90s as a member of the Seattle Mariners. The incredible all-around play made him must-see television for sports fans.
13 All-Star appearances helped Griffey show just how superb of a talent he was. Various injuries slowed down his momentum as he missed time and started to decline. At his best, Griffey was the top player in the entire league. Sadly, none of this teams came close to winning the World Series.
4 Juan Marichal
The pitching of Juan Marichal made him one of the most dominant starting pitchers of his era. Marichal won 20+ games at six different times in his career at a time when that was a harder accomplishment. San Francisco Giants fans fell in love with his work as a top tier player in the league.
Marichal could never get to the top goal in the MLB as he did not win the World Series. The Giants did come close with one World Series appearance and another NLCS appearance but both instances saw them fall short. Marichal played well in postseason action even without the ring.
3 Ernie Banks
The career of Ernie Banks is somewhat sad since he never got to play in the postseason during his entire run with the Chicago Cubs. Banks still was among the most dominant players in the league despite the lack of great teammates surrounding him.
The 11-time All-Star rightfully made the Hall of Fame in 1977 to honor his career. Banks finished his career with 512 home runs and 1,636 RBIs to show just great of a hitter he was. The Cubs went over 100 years without a World Series, so Banks couldn’t have won one no matter how well he played.
2 Ted Williams
Boston Red Sox fans witnessed Ted Williams become one of the all-time great MLB players. Williams finished his career with an amazing .344 batting average along with 521 home runs and 1,839 RBIs. Few players in MLB history ever had the dominance of Williams in either batting average or home run categories.
Williams made 17 All-Star appearances and won the American League MVP Award twice. Boston went 86 years in between World Series history so it isn’t a surprise that Williams never won one. That didn’t prevent him from having such an iconic legacy all these years later.
1 Barry Bonds
No one dominated the game like Barry Bonds whether fans liked him or not. The steroid controversy has put an asterisk on Bonds’ accomplishments to many fans, but that doesn’t erase what he accomplished as an iconic hitter. One thing he didn’t win was a World Series before retiring.
Bonds has the record for most home runs in a single season with 73 and in MLB history with 762. The dominance of Bonds saw pitchers intentionally walk him more than anyone else. At one point, he was intentionally walked with the bases loaded. Bonds dominated the game like no other even if writers refuse to vote him into the Hall of Fame.