World Series 2011: 15 Superstars Who Struggled Badly in the Fall Classic
Throughout baseball history, superstars—many of whom became Hall of Famers—have performed poorly in the World Series.
Obviously, a series can end after four games, and stars aren't immune to slumps. However, on the magnified stage of the Fall Classic, a feeble showing becomes ingrained in the memory of baseball fans across the country.
As the title indicates, this is a list of superstars who struggled badly in the World Series. Many of them played in multiple Fall Classics and only made this list because of one dreadful performance.
Ty Cobb 1907, 1909
The Detroit Tigers appeared in three consecutive World Series from 1907-1909 but lost every time.
Ty Cobb—the same Ty Cobb whose .366 batting average is the highest of all-time—hit a combined .217 in the 1907 and 1909 Fall Classics. In 1909, he at least drove in five runs.
He couldn't have been much worse in 1907, hitting just .200 with no RBI.
Fortunately for Cobb's legacy, he hit .368 in the 1908 World Series.
Mordecai Brown 1910
Mordecai "Three-Finger" Brown was one of the best pitchers of all-time. His 2.06 career ERA and 239 wins earned him a spot in the Hall of Fame.
In 1910, Brown went 25-14 with a 1.86 ERA and a league-leading 27 complete games. However, he wasn't nearly as effective against the Philadelphia Athletics in the Fall Classic, allowing 11 earned runs on 23 hits in 18 innings.
Brown finished the series with a 1-2 record and a 5.50 ERA..
Babe Ruth 1922
In 1922, the New York Yankees fell to the New York Giants in the World Series. Babe Ruth's disappearance at the plate certainly expedited the Giants' sweep of the Bombers.
After posting one of his worst statistical seasons—35 homers, 99 RBI and a .315 batting average in 110 games—Ruth went 2-for-17 with one RBI in the series.
Ruth followed up that poor performance with a dominant 1923 World Series, which the Yankees won. The slugger hit .368 with three homers—more like what you'd expect from the Sultan of Swat.
Mickey Cochrane 1931
In Game 7 of the 1931 World Series, Mickey Cochrane stepped up to the dish in the eighth inning with runners on first and second and his Philadelphia Athletics trailing the St. Louis Cardinals 4-0.
Cochrane, a career .320 hitter, couldn't produce—a tendency he had developed in that series. The Hall-of-Fame catcher hit .160 with one RBI in the seven-game series.
Bob Feller 1948
Somehow the Cleveland Indians beat the Boston Braves in the 1948 World Series despite Bob Feller's improbably poor performance.
In his only World Series, Feller went 0-2 with a 5.02 ERA. The Hall of Famer allowed eight earned runs on 10 hits and three homers in 14.1 innings.
Joe Dimaggio 1949
The New York Yankees downed the Brooklyn Dodgers in five games in the 1949 Fall Classic, but Joe Dimaggio had the worst World Series performance of his career.
Joltin' Joe recorded two hits in 18 at-bats.
Fortunately for the Yankee Clipper, one dud World Series performance doesn't define his career, in which he won three MVP awards and nine championships.
Gil Hodges 1952
Unlike the other old-timers on this list, Gil Hodges never attained Hall of Fame status. However, he was an eight-time All-Star for the Brooklyn Dodgers.
So, when Hodges went 0-for-21 in the 1952 World Series, the Dodgers were lucky to force a seventh game against the New York Yankees. They lost.
Joe Morgan 1972
In Joe Morgan's first season in Cincinnati, the Reds reached the World Series. Morgan, who finished No. 4 in MVP voting, led the league with a .417 on-base percentage and 122 runs scored.
However, Morgan faltered in the 1972 Fall Classic. The Hall of Fame second baseman hit .125, and the Reds fell to the Oakland Athletics in seven games.
Pete Rose 1976
The Cincinnati Reds swept the New York Yankees in the 1976 World Series, but Pete Rose played a minimal role at the plate.
Rose, the all-time hits leader, recorded just three hits in 16 at-bats.
Mike Schmidt 1983
After leading the league with 40 home runs in 1983, Mike Schmidt disappeared during Philadelphia's World Series loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
The Hall-of-Fame third baseman reached base once—via a single—in 20 at-bats. Schmidt also struck out six times.
Mark McGwire 1988, 1990
In two World Series appearances with the Oakland Athletics, Mark McGwire recorded just four hits in 31 at-bats—good for a .129 batting average.
The Athletics won just one of the nine combined World Series games in 1988 and 1990. McGwire hit a walk-off homer in the only win.
Jose Cansceco 1988, 1990
Jose Canseco, who won the AL MVP award in 1988, couldn't deliver in the Fall Classics of 1988 and 1990.
The Bash Brother went 2-for-31 in the two series. Both hits were home runs, but while his grand slam in Game 1 of 1988 was momentous, the Athletics still lost 5-4.
Derek Jeter 2001
Bet you didn't expect to see Derek Jeter on this list.
Jeter is widely regarded as one of the best postseason performers of all-time, but even the best is entitled to an unproductive series once in a while.
For Jeter, that series came in 2001—ironically the same series in which he became Mr. November. The Yankee shortstop went 4-for-27 against the Arizona Diamondbacks. His only RBI came on his walk-off homer in Game 4.
Albert Pujols 2006
Albert Pujols, the winner of three MVP awards, hit just .200 in the St. Louis Cardinals' World Series victory in 2006.
The first baseman homered in Game 1, but failed to produce much more afterwards as the Cardinals' main offensive threat. Pujols, who drew five walks, only drove in two runs all series—both as a product of his Game 1 shot.
Evan Longoria 2008
As a rookie in 2008, Evan Longoria led the Tampa Bay Rays to the franchise's first postseason.
The Rookie of the Year hit six home runs in the first two rounds to help bring the Rays to the World Series. However, any signs of competence at the plate disappeared, and Longoria went 1-for-20 with nine strikeouts against Philadelphia's pitching.
The Rays lost the series in five games.