Second baseman Rod Carew made the ALCS four times—twice with the Twins and twice with the Angels—but never played in the World Series.
A few years back I wrote a series of blogs called “Lords of the Ringless”—a litany on the greatest baseball, football, and basketball players never to win a championship.
Every baseball player dreams of winning a World Series. But at least those who get there and lose the Fall Classic can brag about winning a pennant.
Not for this group, which features Hall of Famers at every position except outfield and closer.
Those outfielders are Ken Griffey, Jr., below, and Sammy Sosa, who stand fifth and seventh on the all-time home run list respectively (with 630 and 609 home runs) and are not yet eligible for election. Sosa hit 60 or more home runs three times and led the National League in HR twice; Griffey led the American League in homers on four different occasions.
The squad includes a two-time .400 hitter (George Sisler), a .342 lifetime hitter (Harry Heilmann), and a pitcher who won 20 games in a season seven times (Ferguson Jenkins).
The infielders combined for 10 batting titles lifetime—seven by second baseman Rod Carew—along with four MVP honors—two by shortstop Ernie Banks.
The starting rotation features two 300-game winners in Phil Niekro and Gaylord Perry, a combined 1,176 victories, and three Cy Young Award winners—two by Perry, one in each league.
Coming out of the bullpen is Lee Smith, third on the all-time list with 478 saves.
Here’s the starting lineup: the best players never to make the World Series.
C — Rick Ferrell: Hall of Famer, played 18 seasons with Browns, Red Sox, and Senators. 7-time All-Star, .281 career batting average.
1B — George Sisler: ’22 AL MVP. two batting titles, .407 in ’20, .420 in ’22, .340 lifetime, Browns, Senators, Braves.
2B — Rod Carew: .328 career batting average, Seven batting titles, AL MVP in ’77 with .388 average, Twins, Angels, others; Four times in ALCS, two with Twins, two with Angels.
SS — Ernie Banks: Mr. Cub, left,.512 lifetime homers, 277 as shortstop, NL MVP in ’58, ’59 as SS, later moved to 1B. Cubs.
3B — George Kell: .306 career batting average, won AL batting title in ’49; Phillies, Tigers, Red Sox, White Sox, Orioles.
OF — Harry Heilmann: .342 career average, Four AL batting titles, .403 in ’23, Tigers, Reds.
OF – Sammy Sosa: 609 HRs, seventh all-time, three years with 60 HRs, NL MVP ’98, Rangers, White Sox, Cubs, Orioles.
OF — Ken Griffey, Jr: Played for Mariners, Reds, and White Sox. 630 HRs are fifth most in history. Won AL MVP in '97.
P — Ferguson Jenkins: 284-226, seven 20-win seasons, 3,192 K, '71 NL Cy Young; Cubs, Rangers, Red Sox.
P — Phil Niekro: knuckleballer, right, 318 wins, 24 years from ’64 to ’87, Braves, Yankees, Indians.
P — Gaylord Perry: 314 wins, AL Cy Young ’72, NL Cy Young ’78, Giants, Indians, Rangers, Padres, Yankees, Braves, Mariners.
P — Ted Lyons: 260 career wins, won 20 three times, White Sox ’23-46.
R — Lee Smith: 478 saves; Cubs, Red Sox, Cardinals, Yankees, Orioles. Angels, Reds, Expos.
Other Lords of The Ringless