The ultimate goal for any athlete is to win the championship. Notably baseball has its long historic droughts where players who spent their entire career in one city suffered with the fans. Members of the Boston Red Sox, Philadelphia Phillies, and Chicago Cubs where a championship was in the distance all unfortunately never had the opportunity to fulfill their career goals.
In the modern era, dynasties are far fewer and with added teams in the league there was less of an excuse to not winning a World Series. These are some of the best to play in recent years to have never won a World Series.
Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio
Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio spent their entire careers together playing for the Houston Astros. Two of the best from their era, neither had the chance to win a World Series. In fact, they only had the chance to play there once when they were swept by the Chicago White Sox in 2005. Possibly even worse for these two men is that neither has been elected to the Hall of Fame despite having worthy numbers.
The single season and career home run leader Barry Bonds spent his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and San Francisco Giants. The closest he got to winning the World Series was in 2002 when the Giants played the Anaheim Angels in the finals. It took seven games before the Giants ultimately lost. Many people forget Bonds never won the World Series as he was always a player looking out for himself more than the team anyway.
Ken Griffey Jr.
A career cut short by injuries, Ken Griffey Jr. lost out on the opportunity to be the greatest home run hitter of all-time. Another thing he never had the chance to do was win the World Series, let alone even play in it. Griffey Jr. played his career primarily with the Seattle Mariners and Cincinnati Reds. During his time with these teams they never managed to be good enough to win a championship. Griffey Jr. cannot be at fault as the Reds have not won the World Series since 1990 and the Mariners have never even been there.
The lifetime outfielder for the San Diego Padres, Tony Gwynn suffered every bit as the fans did. A member of the Hall of Fame and of the 3,000 hit club, Gwynn never experienced what it’s like to win in late October. The greatest contact hitter from the modern era, Gwynn had the unfortunate destiny to play for a team that has yet to win a World Series.
One of the best hitting catchers of all-time is Mike Piazza. He finished his career with more home runs than Johnny Bench and a far greater batting average. Unfortunately for Piazza his biggest highlight in the World Series is Roger Clemens throwing a broken bat at him, not a championship victory.
Loyalty to the Chicago Cubs has hurt many players as far as earning a World Series victory. One recent player to suffer the consequences is Ryne Sandberg. The best second baseman in the 1980s and into the early 1990s, Sandberg played through another disappointing era of Cubs baseball. Now the manager of the Philadelphia Phillies, he will look to lead a team to a World Series from the dugout.
Ichiro Suzuki’s resume includes many accolades. He has the single season record for hits and played for one of the best teams ever record-wise, the 2001 Seattle Mariners. Despite this he has never been a part of a championship team. Ichiro now plays for the New York Yankees which drastically increases his odds at adding a ring to his finger. Time is running out for the best Japanese born player to win his first World Series and it may already be too late.