When it comes to professional sports in North America, the landscape is dominated by football, baseball, basketball, and hockey, all of which have major leagues that bring in billions of dollars in revenue every single year. These leagues have all been around for quite a long time, giving them each their own unique history, but no league focuses on history and tradition more than Major League Baseball, which has been around for 115 years. There are currently 30 teams in the MLB, and that number has changed several times over the years, but no matter how many teams there are, the goal for each and every one of them is to win the World Series.
Like the other three sports, the championship is usually won by the best team, and in order to become the best team, it means that their roster is comprised of some really good players, with at least one of those players being a future Hall of Famer. MLB players may have a skill set that sets them apart from all other athletes, but that does not mean that they do not sometimes falter when the games truly matter. No matter the sport, there is always someone on the championship roster who ends up not carrying their own weight, and although they ultimately do not cost their team, their weak performance does make winning it all much more difficult, and this article will focus on the least effective player on the last 20 World Series winning teams.
20 1999: Andy Pettitte
1999 saw the Yankees repeat as World Series champions, which makes a lot of sense considering their core group was still together, including Andy Pettitte. It is debatable whether or not Pettitte is a Hall of Fame player, but he did finish his career with 256 wins and five World Series rings. As good as he was during this time in Yankee history, he did not perform well in the 1999 championship. Pettitte made one start against Atlanta, where he pitched in just 3.2 innings, and where he posted a 12.27 ERA after giving up five earned runs on 10 hits.
19 2000: Bernie Williams
In the late '90s and early 2000s, the New York Yankees were essentially a super team, as they seemed to make it to the World Series virtually every year, and Bernie Williams was one of several players who won at least four championships over that time. If you were to ask Yankee fans about the center fielder, they will tell you that he was a great hitter, and he was, as evidenced by his performance in the 2000 season, where he batted .307 with 165 hits and 121 RBI. Williams was unable to perform in the World Series though, where in 18 at-bats he got just two hits, which translated into a .111 batting average.
18 2001: Craig Counsell
Craig Counsell did a great job managing the Milwaukee Brewers this season, even though they were unable to beat the Red Sox in the World Series, but at least he was able to win it all in 2001 as a player. At that point in time, Counsell was a member of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and during the regular season, he batted a decent .275, which amounted to him getting 126 hits and scoring 76 runs. In the seven-game series though, he apparently forgot how to hit, because, in 24 at-bats, he got just two hits, which gave him a .083 batting average.
17 2002: Kevin Appier
Angels fans are lucky because they currently have the best player in baseball, and they have a right to take pride in that seeing as they have not won a championship since 2002. Leading up to the season, the Angels decided to add to their starting rotation, which is why they acquired Kevin Appier from the Mets, and he performed decently during the regular season, where he recorded a 3.92 ERA with 132 strikeouts. Appier ended up getting two starts in the World Series, and he can technically be blamed for the series going to seven games, as he gave up eight earned runs while posting an absurd ERA of 11.37 in just 6.1 innings.
16 2003: Luis Castillo
Based on how the Marlins have performed these past few years, there is an entire generation of baseball fans who probably think that the franchise has never won a thing, but that would be a mistake, as they last won the World Series in 2003. A lot of people believed that the Marlins would never be able to beat the Yankees, but they managed to pull it off, despite Luis Castillo's poor performance in the series. During those six games, the second baseman scored 1 run, while producing one RBI with a .154 batting average, which was a far cry from the regular season, where he hit .314 while also scoring 99 runs.
15 2004: Kevin Millar
Kevin Millar played in the majors for a decade, and during that time, he became a pretty decent hitter, and in 2004, he was a part of the notorious Red Sox team that put an end to the franchise's 86-year championship drought. When the regular season was done, Millar had put together an impressive year that included a .297 average with 151 hits and 74 RBI, but for some reason, he vanished during the four-game sweep of the Cardinals. Millar got eight at-bats during the series, where he recorded just a single hit, which helped to improve his overall batting average to a stellar .125.
14 2005: Tadahito Iguchi
The Chicago White Sox have been trying to rebuild for years now, and it would appear as though they are close to becoming competitive again, just like they were when they won it all in 2005. That year, the White Sox had great pitching and hitting, and Tadahito Iguchi was a part of that scary lineup, as the second baseman hit .278 during the regular season, which included 142 hits and 71 RBI, but he was virtually absent throughout the four-game series with Houston. In 18 at-bats, Iguchi scored just two runs, while also posting a subpar batting average of .167.
13 2006: Albert Pujols
There is no doubt that Albert Pujols is a Hall of Fame player, as he has the numbers to get inducted, but he also has multiple World Series rings, both of which came during his tenure with the Cardinals. The first ring came after St. Louis beat Detroit in five games in 2006, and if you were to look at his stats during that series, he did not perform at a Hall of Fame level. That year, Pujols hit .331 with 49 home runs and 137 RBI over the course of the regular season, but when it came to the World Series, he batted just .200 after 15 plate appearances.
12 2007: Mike Timlin
The Colorado Rockies competed in their very first World Series in 2007, but they did not get to enjoy the feeling for very long, as they were quickly swept by the Red Sox. During that series, Boston's lineup hit like crazy, which is why this entry will focus on their pitching, specifically their bullpen. At that point in time, Mike Timlin was a veteran reliever who had already won three championships, but he was not all that helpful during the short series. Timlin ended up pitching in three games, where in 2.1 innings, he gave up two runs on two hits, giving him a lovely ERA of 7.71.
11 2008: Pat Burrell
A decade ago, Phillies fans were overjoyed by their team finally winning their second World Series title. Pat Burrell played in Philadelphia for eight years, and he was lucky enough to get a ring in the final year of his tenure with the team because he did not perform well during the five-game series against Tampa Bay. During the regular season, the left fielder hit .250 with 33 home runs and 86 RBI, but that level of production disappeared in the World Series, where he got 1 hit in 14 at-bats, which amounted to an abysmal .071 batting average for the man nicknamed "The Bat."
10 2010: Jonathan Sanchez
The San Francisco mini-dynasty began when the team won the World Series in 2010, and the argument can actually be made that the 2010 team was the least talented variation of the three Giants teams that ended up winning so much. That year, Jonathan Sanchez was a part of the team’s starting rotation, and during the regular season, he performed quite well, as he managed to put up a 3.07 ERA with 205 strikeouts in 33 starts. During the World Series, however, in his one and only start, which amounted to just 4.2 innings, he walked three batters and gave up four earned runs while posting a 7.71 ERA.
9 2011: Kyle Lohse
2011 marks the last time that the St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series, and that win came against the Texas Rangers, in what turned out to be a spectacular seven-game series. Many people believed that St. Louis possessed the better starting rotation, which at the time included Kyle Lohse, who during the regular season, put together a good 30-start performance which included 111 strikeouts and a 3.39 ERA. During the World Series, however, Lohse performed well below pa, as he only got a single start, and during that outing, not only did he pitch just three innings, he also put up a 9.00 ERA.
8 2012: Brandon Belt
When you win a bunch of championships within a relatively short period of time, there are bound to be several players who end up with multiple rings on their resume, and Brandon Belt is an example of this. Belt is still with San Francisco, which goes to show how much the team values him, but during the 2012 World Series, he truly underperformed. During the four-game sweep of the Detroit Tigers, Belt went to the plate 13 times, where he recorded a .077 batting average with just a single hit and seven strikeouts, but at least that single hit was an RBI triple.
7 2013: Stephen Drew
Red Sox fans were overjoyed by this year’s World Series win, but it is not as if they had to wait that long between championships, seeing as they also won it all just five years ago. Going into the 2013 season, Boston believed that they were only a few pieces away from contending for a championship, which is why they signed shortstop Stephen Drew to a one-year deal, which amounted to a regular season where he hit .253 with 67 RBI. During the World Series, he made 19 plate appearances against St. Louis, where he got just three hits, which amounted to an embarrassing .150 batting average.
6 2014: Jake Peavy
2014 saw the San Francisco Giants win their third World Series title in five years, which is a testament to how good their core group of players was, but even good teams look to keep adding to their rosters. That season, the Giants acquired starting pitcher, Jake Peavy from the Red Sox, and by the time the regular season was done, Peavy put together a 3.73 ERA performance with 158 strikeouts in 32 starts, but when it came to the World Series, his numbers were awful. Peavy started two games, where he pitched a combined 6.1 innings, while giving up nine earned runs and a whopping 12.79 ERA.
5 2015: Kendrys Morales
The Kansas City Royals may have finished near the bottom of the overall standings this season, but it was only a few years ago that they defeated the Mets in five games to win their second championship in franchise history. The Royals were banking on a long postseason run in 2015, which is why they signed Kendrys Morales during the offseason, and to his credit, he did perform well during the regular season, where he batted .290 with 156 hits and 106 RBI. During the World Series though, he might as well have not played, as he hit .200 with three strikeouts while driving in zero runs.
4 2016: Jason Heyward
In sports, championship droughts are a big deal, which is why the 2016 season was so amazing because sports fans got to see the Chicago Cubs put an end to their 108-year World Series drought by defeating Cleveland in seven games. Leading up to their championship season, the Cubs slowly brought in pieces to bolster their roster, including Jason Heyward, who they signed to a huge eight-year contract in 2015. Heyward did not perform well that year, as he hit just .230 with 93 strikeouts during the regular season, but his numbers were even worse in the World Series, where he hit just .150 over the course of 20 at-bats.
3 2009: Mark Teixeira
Given how successful the franchise has been over the decades, it is a little hard to believe that it has been nearly 10 years since the New York Yankees last won the World Series. The 2009 Yankee team was stacked, with an explosive offense and a scary starting rotation, and part of the reason why their lineup was so threatening during the regular season was that it included Mark Teixeira. During the regular season, Teixeira hit .292 with 39 home runs, but during the championship series against the Phillies, his bat more or less disappeared, as he hit just .135 after 22 at-bats.
2 2017: Dallas Keuchel
Last year, it was clear that the Houston Astros were the best team in the A.L., and they ended up proving that they were the best team period when they beat the Dodgers in seven games to claim the franchise’s first championship. Going into the World Series, Houston had two Cy Young winners in their starting rotation, including Dallas Keuchel, who won the hardware back in 2015, but even great pitchers can falter in the biggest series of the year. In the regular season, Keuchel had posted 125 strikeouts and a 2.90 ERA in 23 starts, but in the World Series, he gave up six runs, with three walks, and a 5.23 ERA in his two starts.
1 2018: Ian Kinsler
The Boston Red Sox were the best team during this year’s regular season, so it was not surprising to see them win it all just a few months ago. On July 30, Boston acquired Ian Kinsler from the Angels, in an attempt to add some veteran experience to their postseason push, and although he was decent during the regular season, he essentially disappeared during the World Series. Boston beat Milwaukee in five games, with Kinsler playing in three of them, where in 10 plate appearances he produced just one hit and one RBI while striking out three times with zero walks.