Winning a championship in your given sport is the pinnacle according to just about any athlete you speak to. Many players over the years say they would gladly give up their individual honors to have the chance to wear a ring.
That is never more true than in the sport of baseball, where over the 100 plus years of playing, there has been many, many players that have played the sport at the highest level, yet have not been able to win "The Big One."
From huge sluggers and ace pitchers, to flat out Hall of Famers, there is a long list of players that have never been able to call themselves "World Series Champion." Instead, all those players have been able to do is lean on their own accomplishments.
Some players have hung around well into their 40’s for the opportunity to try and win a title. Others have decided that if it is not meant to be, and that it was better to simply walk away from the game with that one thing missing from their resume.
It’s a list that you don’t want to be on as a player. It’s a list of some of the most impressive names in all of baseball, filled with names that have dominated the game at one point or another.
So sit back and enjoy the list you don’t want to end up on, one that shows you’ve missed out on the greatest moment in your sport – the list of the best that haven’t been able to finish the race, and raise the World Series Championship.
21 Gaylord Perry
A 22-year career with eight different teams was not enough for Perry to win a title. He won 314 games, threw 3,534 strikeouts, and even was selected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1991. At the end of the day, Perry, who won the CY Young in both the AL and NL, wasn’t able to take home a title. Perry's number 36 was retired by the San Francisco Giants in 2005.
20 Craig Biggio
A 7-time All-Star with the Houston Astros, Biggio was nine homers short of the 300-300 club. He goes down as one of the greatest players in the history of the organization, having his number 7 retired. The versitle player is one of only four members of the 3,000 hit club not to be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Biggio’s 20-year career ended with a handful of playoff appearances and one World Series Appearance, but no title to speak of playing for the Astros.
19 Frank Thomas
An intimidating force at the plate over his 19-year career with three different teams, Thomas could never get over a ring, playing most of his career with the Chicago White Sox. The 5-time All-Star, 2-time MVP, and AL Batting Champ in 1997 pounded out 521 career homers, but it was not enough to take home a title. He only ever made the postseason 3 times in his career and never appeared in the World Series. Thomas went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in July of 2014.
18 Andre Dawson
“The Hawk” played for 20 MLB seasons, hitting 438 homers, but never was able to sniff a championship. He took home eight Gold Gloves, and is one of only eight players in major league history to record over 300 home runs and 300 stolen bases in his career. "Awesome Dawson," another nickmame he was known by, went into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2010. Playing for the majority of his career on poor Cubs and Expos teams, he only ever made the playoffs twice.
17 Lee Smith
Smith closed for 18 seasons in the Majors, and made the rounds playing for eight different teams. He pitched in the playoffs twice, but never made it to the World Series. He left the game with 478 saves, but, sadly, the seven time All-Star never tasted the victory of a championship. He's been up for the Hall of Fame 11 times since 2003, yet never has had enough votes to get in.
16 Ichiro Suzuki
Ichiro was the first Japanese-born position player to be signed to the major leagues, inking a deal with Seattle in 2001. He then became one of the best baseball imports of all-time. Ichiro is known as a ‘professional hitter,’ but despite two playoff appearances, he has not been able to win a championship. Ichiro ended 2014 with a solid lifetime average of .317, 112 homers, one AL MVP award and two AL Batting Titles.
15 Ron Santo
This Cubs Hall of Famer never even played in a postseason game, but deserves to be on the list for being a 9-time All-Star, 5-time Gold Glover, and having his number retired by the Cubs. He then became a broadcaster for the Cubs and was such a fan favorite that he finally was elected to the Hall of Fame, two years after his passing. He played much of his career suffering from diabetes, though he hid it for most of his career.
14 Rafael Palmeiro
Palmeiro will always be identified as part of the ‘steroids’ era of baseball, but the numbers don’t lie. He had 569 homers and a .288 career average over a 20-year career with four different teams. Palmeiro did make it to the postseason three times, but was unable to ever make it to the World Series. Sadly, he tested positive for an anabolic steroid and was suspended just after reaching 3,000 hits, putting a black cloud on his career.
13 Robin Yount
Known as “The Kid,” Yount played his entire 20-year career with the Milwaukee Brewers, and was close to a World Series title in 1982, falling to the St.Louis Cardinals in 7 games. Yount's career started at the young age of 18 after just a few months in the minors. He went into the Hall of Fame in 1999 after a career that saw him hit .285 lifetime with 251 home runs.
12 Carlton Fisk
Playing 24 seasons with the Red Sox and White Sox, Fisk will always be remembered for his dramatic homer in the 1975 World Series, though Boston wound up losing that series to the Cincinnati Reds. It was that series that many fans recall for his famous 'waiving fair,' game winning homer in game 6. The 11-time All-Star went into the Hall of Fame in 2000, after a career that saw him hit .269 with 376 homers.
11 Trevor Hoffman
Hoffman started his career as an 11th round draft pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 1989 after playing shortstop in college. In the end, with 601 saves over a career that spanned 18 seasons, Hoffman will go down as one of the most dominant closers in the game. The 7-time All-Star was twice he was the runner-up for the National League CY Young award. Hoffman’s closest touch to a title was in 1998, when his Padres fell to the New York Yankees in the Fall Classic.
10 Sammy Sosa
The slugger played 18 seasons with four different teams, and despite a season in 2001 that saw him hit an amazing 64 homers (even though there is an asterisk there), Sosa played in the postseason twice, but never reached the World Series. Sosa is another player caught up in the ‘steroid’ scandal that tarnishes his name for a possible bid to the Hall of Fame despite 609 lifetime homers. He's the only player in MLB history to hit 60 or more HRs in three different seasons.
9 Don Mattingly
“Donny Baseball” may someday manage his way to a World Series, but never got to one as a player despite playing for the Yankees for 14 seasons and retiring with a .307 average. He was the AL MVP in 1985 and a six-time All-Star, but never got to the top of the baseball world as a player. He's now the skipper for the Los Angeles Dodgers and is hoping to fulfill his World Series dreams as their manager.
8 Rod Carew
The Hall of Famer played for 19 seasons, and appeared in the postseason four times, but never won a championship. He ended his career with a .328 average, and was an 18-time All-Star. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1991 on the first ballot. He went to the All-Star game in every season he played except his last one. He was a bench coach for several years after retiring as a player.
7 Ken Griffey Jr.
“Junior” played 22 seasons and was one of the best pure hitters in baseball in the 1990’s and 2000’s. He pounded 630 homers, and the closest he got to a title was 1995 when the Mariners lost to Cleveland in the ALCS. The popular star was selected to the All-Star game 13 times. He also was an excellent center fielder, winning a Gold Glove for some amazing plays 10 times.
6 Ryne Sandberg
The Hall of Famer played for 16 seasons with the Cubs, playing in the postseason twice, but never advancing to the World Series. “Ryno” left the game with a .285 average and 282 homers, before going into the Hall of Fame in 2005. Oddly enough, he's now the manager of the team that selected him in the 20th round of the 1978 baseball amateur draft, the Philadelphia Phillies.
5 Carl Yastrzemski
The long time Red Sox played in Boston for 23 seasons, and hit .285 with 452 homers, but never lifted the World Series trophy. He was an 18-time All-Star, and won the Triple Crown in 1967. Yaz came close to a title in 1975 before losing to the Reds in the World Series. He ended his career not only as one of the greatest hitters of all-time, but also with seven Gold Golves to his name. He was an all-around elite player.
4 Tony Gwynn
The popular Gwynn played 20 seasons for the Padres, and left the game with a .338 average, 15 All-Star appearances and 5 Gold Gloves. He was with San Diego in the playoffs in 1984, but fell short when the Padres lost to the Tigers in the World Series. He was also on the Padres World Series team that lost to the Yankees in 1998. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2007 and sadly died in 2014, at the age of 54.
3 Ernie Banks
He was “Mr.Cub” and played 19 seasons with Chicago, hitting .274 with 512 homers. He was a 11-time All-Star and two-time NL MVP, and in 1958 and 1960 led the NL in homers. Banks not only never won a World Series, he never even appeared in a playoff game. That'st he issue with being a member of the Cubs. Banks served with the US Army in 1951, and served in Germany in the Korean War, and even at one-point played with the Harlem Globetrotters on a part-time basis.
2 Ty Cobb
Cobb spent 22 seasons with the Detroit Tigers, wrapping up his career with the Philadelphia Athletics, and never was able to taste a World Series despite putting up legendary numbers that make him one of the best players in the history of the game. He was credited with setting 90 MLB records in his long career, including some that still stand like the highest career batting average and the most career batting titles with 11. His career ended with a .366 batting average, 4,189 hits, 117 homers and 1,938 runs batted in. Cobb will go down as one of most the aggressive players in the history of the game, known for sliding into first base with his spikes pointed up. His legacy is also tarnished by allegations of racism and violence, but there’s no doubting his greatness on the field. He goes down as a player that was as good as any that played the game, but could never get over the hump with a World Series title.
1 Ted Williams
One of the true greats, Williams played all 19 seasons of his career with the Red Sox. He hit 521 homers and ended his career with a .344 average. He also owns the highest career OPB of all-time with .482. The 17-time All-Star won the AL MVP twice, was a two-time Triple Crown winner, and led the AL in batting six times. He hit .406 in his third season in the Majors, making him the last player to hit over .400. The only time Williams tasted the postseason was in 1946 losing to the Cardinals in the World Series.
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