Best players in MLB who never won a title

September 23, 2014

Baseball has provided us with some magical moments and exceptional talents. It is an unpredictable sport and has the ability to surprise even the most avid baseball fan. It truly is one of the greatest sports in the world. And it takes an equally great player to achieve the highest honor in baseball, winning the World Series. Or does it? Have all the great players won the World Series as well? Sadly, not every legend has been able to get his hands on the biggest prize in the sport. The following are in, our opinion, the top ten greatest players to have never won the World Series.


1. Nap Lajoie (1896-1916)

Considered to be the best second-basemen ever to play baseball, Nap Lajoie was a truly gifted player. Born in 1874, in an immigrant family, he had a difficult childhood. Receiving little or no formal education and having to work in steel mills to help out his family, Nap decided to give professional baseball a try. Already famous in the local baseball league as an accomplished player, Nap quickly established himself as one of the best in the league.

His first team was the Philadelphia Phillies who gave him his big break in the National League and he made an instant impact. Nap then went on to join the Philadelphia Athletics in the newly formed American League. It was here that he became famous, setting numerous records, some of which are yet to be broken. Another change followed after the Athletics as Nap joined the Cleveland Broncos. In Cleveland, just two years in to his stint, the local community in a newspaper poll decided to change the name of the team to the Cleveland Naps in his honor.

In his long and stellar career, Nap was one of the most consistent players in baseball. It was however too much even for him to win the World Series title. Nevertheless, his career stats tell us the player he really was. His career batting average of 0.338 is 20th in the all time averages while his 0.426 with 14 home runs and 125 RBI in the 1901 season is still a record to this day.


2. Ty Cobb (1905-1928)


Baseball was rising in popularity in the early 90s and all it required was prolific players that fans could idolize in order to further popularize the game. Nap Lajoie was one such player and the other was his greatest opponent and one of the best outfielders in baseball, Ty Cobb. Born in 1886 in a small rural community in Georgia, Cobb started playing baseball at a young age and joined a semi-professional team before he was transferred to the Detroit Tigers in 1905.
Cobb spent twenty two years with the Tigers and in that time made or broke over eighty MLB records some of which still stand to this day. He achieved the Triple Crown and became the home run champion in 1909. He was named MVP two years later. Cobb was a batting champion twelve times, an RBI champion four times and a stolen base champion six times. At the time of his retirement in 1928 he had a career batting average of 0.367, a record he still holds to this day. He was also the first person to clock 4000 hits and still holds the home steal record with 54.

Cobb played in the World Series three times in consecutive seasons but failed to win it each time. Twice his team lost to the Cubs and once to the Pirates between 1907 and 1909. Cobb was another superb player who missed out on the greatest achievement in baseball but his legacy was cemented as a great when he was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1936.


3. George Sisler (1915-1930)


George Sisler was an astounding baseball player, who had an amazing career but did not win the World Series. Born in 1893 to German immigrants, Sisler began playing baseball in high school before continuing it in college. At the University Of Michigan, he became an All-American thrice. He signed with the St. Louis Browns in 1915 right after finishing his degree in mechanical engineering.

Upon joining the Browns, George primarily played as a pitcher before moving permanently to first base. It took him a little time to adjust to the majors but when he did, his talent was clear for all to see. The 1922 season, in which he had a batting average of .420, 246 hits, 51 stolen bases, 18 triples and hit safely in 41 consecutive games, is considered to be one of the best individual season records in the history of the game. When he retired, he held records for season hits and hitting safely in consecutive games. His .36 career average is ranked 20th in all time averages. He was all MVP in 1922, batting champion twice and stolen base champion four times in his career.

Even though his amazing stats did not help him get his hands on the World Series, his ability was never in question. George was inducted to the Hall of Fame in 1939.


4. Ted Williams (1939-1960)


Ted Williams is easily one of the best Boston Red Sox players in history as well as one of the best hitters in the history of baseball. Born in 1918 in San Diego to a middle class family, Williams was first trained as a pitcher by his uncle. He excelled at this position and quite a few MLB teams even offered him a contract right out of high school. Due to pressure from his family he decided to stay at home and play in a minor league team.

It was at the San Diego Padres, that Williams was discovered by the Red Sox general manager who then added him to the roster and went on to spend his entire nineteen year career with the Red Sox. In his time Williams was considered one of the best rookies to join the MLB and even Babe Ruth declared that he was Rookie of the Year when he first saw him play. During his time with the Red Sox, he was selected nineteen times for the All-Stars and became MVP twice. He Won a Triple Crown twice as well along with becoming batting champion six times, home run champion four times and an RBI champion four times. He was selected for the MLB all century and all time teams. The Red Sox have retired his jersey number.

Williams made it to the Baseball Hall of fame and even though he lost the only time he went to the World Series, the world recognized his talent and honored him for it.


5. Ernie Banks (1953-1971)


Known as Mr. Sunshine, Ernie Banks was a first baseman and a shortstop for the Chicago Cubs and played nineteen seasons with them before retiring and taking a job on their coaching staff. He was born in Texas in 1931 and started playing baseball at a young age. He played for his local church’s team before joining the Negro American League for a little while.

In 1950 he was drafted for the Korean War and had to complete his service before he came back and joined the Cubs. With the Cubs, he had an amazing career being an All- Star fourteen times. He became MVP in back to back seasons in 1958 and 1959 and won the Golden Glove Award the very next year. He was home run and RBI champion twice in the National League and was selected in the MLB all time team.

Banks jersey number was retired by the Cubs and he was inducted in to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1977. He was one of the first few African-Americans to join the MLB and the example he set became a precedent for all the others that followed. He did not manage to win the World Series but he is recognized as one of the best baseball players the sport has ever seen.


6. Harmon Killebrew (1954-1975)


One of the best power hitters in history, Harmon Killebrew was known as ‘the Killer.’ Born in 1936 Harmon was the son of a sheriff and a former All-American in football who encouraged his ambitions.

Harmon spent the best part of his career with the Washington Senators and had a very productive career. He managed to reach the World Series once, only to lose it. His career statistics on the other hand were astounding. His best season in 1969 saw him hit 49 home runs and record 140 RBIs on the way to taking home the MVP award. Harmon was an All-Star thirteen times, a home run champion six times and an RBI champion three times in his career. He was inducted to the MLB Hall of Fame and his contributions to the sport will always be remembered, even if he managed to miss out on the World Series.


7. Carl Yastrzemski (1961-1983)


Carl Yastrzemski was chosen by the Red Sox to replace the legendary Ted Williams at left field, a difficult task for a rookie. That did not faze Yastrzemski and he went on to become one of the best players of his time. Born in 1939 to a Polish family living in New York, he learned to play the game with his father before moving on to high school and college. He went to college on a basketball scholarship but continued his career in baseball when he was signed by the Red Sox in 1959.

It took Yastrzemski two years to really establish himself before people started taking notice. He was an All-Star a whopping eighteen times in his twenty two year career and became MVP once as well. He won the Triple Crown in 1967 and was voted the MVP for the All Star game in 1970. He had a great throwing arm and won seven Golden Glove Awards in his career. By the time he retired Yastrzemski had over 400 home runs and over 3000 hits and is second on the list of the all time MLB games played. He set numerous Red Sox records in his career like most RBIs, hits, singles, runs, total bases, doubles and games played.

Just like Ted Williams, Yastrzemski was also unable to inspire his team to the World Series and that one achievement eluded him throughout his career. But his influence on the sport will forever be remembered by all Red Sox and baseball fans everywhere.


8. Tony Gwynn (1982-2001)


Perhaps one of the best team players in baseball, Tony Gwynn was a very important and influential figure for the San Diego Padres, helping them to their only two World Series appearances. He might have eventually lost both times, but he was still recognized for what he was, a phenomenal left fielder and hitter of the ball.

Born in 1960 in California he was an avid basketball fan but followed baseball with interest as well. He went to the San Diego State University on a basketball scholarship. Tony eventually joined the baseball team and was selected an All-American. He eventually left college and was drafted in both baseball and basketball before choosing the San Diego Padres as his designated team.

During his career, Tony won the Gold Glove Award five times and the Silver Slugger award seven times. He was the league’s batting champion eight times and was selected as an All-Star fifteen times in his career. The Padres’ retired his jersey and he was also inducted in to the MLB Hall of Fame.


9. Barry Bonds (1986-2007)


Barry Bonds is widely considered as the one of the greatest baseball players in history and one of the best left fielders in the game. He was born in 1964 and started playing sports at an early age showing aptitude for baseball, basketball and football. His father was the former All-Star baseball player Bobby Bonds and Barry decided to follow in his footsteps. Having been drafted right after high school, Barry refused the deal offered to him by the Giants and went on to college at the Arizona State University. He graduated and was drafted by the Pittsburg Pirates.

Barry Bonds spent seven years with the Pirates before joining the San Francisco Giants for another fifteen years. During that time Bonds enjoyed a very successful career, being selected as an All Star fourteen times. He is a record seven time MVP award winner, four of which he received in consecutive seasons, another record. He won eight Gold Glove Awards and twelve Silver Slugger Awards along with the Hank Aaron Award thrice. At his retirement Bonds held the records for all time career home runs with 762, most home runs over the course of a season with 73, most walks in a career with 2558 and 688 intentional career walks.

His retirement came in rather dubious circumstances being linked to baseball’s steroid controversy and that, as well as his failure to win the World Series, tarnished his otherwise perfect career record.


10. Ken Griffey Jr. (1989-2010)


Ken Griffey Jr. was the son of a former baseball player Ken Griffey Sr., who was not only an All-Star three times but had also won the World Series twice in his career. Ken Jr. was not able to repeat the World Series win that his father enjoyed but he exceeded expectations in everything else.

He started playing baseball in high school along with football and found success in both sports. He was high school player of the year in baseball and was also offered a playing scholarship by many colleges for his football skills. Ken however decided to play baseball professionally and was selected by the Seattle Mariners in the 1987 draft.

During his career Ken played first for the Seattle Mariners from 1989 to 1999 before joining the Cincinnati Reds from 2000 to 2008 and the Chicago White Sox during the 2009 season. He was selected as an All-Star thirteen times and was also MVP during the 1996 season. He won ten Gold Glove Awards and seven Silver Slugger Awards in his career along with being the MVP in the All-Star game of 1992. He was a four time home run champion, a three time home run derby champion and also became the RBI champion once in 1997. He was one of the few players who played in four separate decades and was also inducted in to the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

This is our list of the Top 10 greatest MLB players not to have won the World Series. These players are legends in every sense of the word but for one reason or another, just could not win the biggest prize that baseball has to offer.

Let’s now hear what you have got to say about it.

1 Comment

  • Zack good says:

    Great article but griffey won mvp in 97. And played 4 Seattle in 2009. Sox in 08.

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