The Fall Classic Went On without These Great Players

By Glen Sparks

Every player dreams about playing in the World Series. It is, after all, the grandest stage. The Yanks’ Yogi Berra played in the most Series (14) and has the most at-bats (259). Berra’s teammate, Mickey Mantle, leads in home run (18) and RBI (40).  Whitey Ford, another Yankee, ranks No. 1 in Series wins (10), losses (8) strikeouts (94) and starts (22).

This is the time of year that Reggie Jackson hit three home runs on three straight pitches.  No. 44 belted 18 career postseason homers–10 in the World Series–and dubbed himself  “Mr. October” for his autumn heroics.  Jackson once said, “The only reason I don’t like playing in the World Series is that I can’t watch myself play.” (That makes sense in a weird Reggie Jacksonian sort of way.)

Many of the great ones, though, didn’t get the chance to play mid-October baseball.  Below is a list of some Hall of Famers who never took a World Series at-bat or pitched an inning in the Fall Classic.

Luke Appling enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the White Sox, but he never made it to the World Series.

Luke Appling enjoyed a Hall of Fame career with the White Sox, but he never made it to the World Series.

Luke Appling, Chicago White Sox (1930-43, 1945-50), 2,749 H, .310 Avg.

Ernie Banks, Chicago Cubs (1953-71), 512 HR, 1,636 RBI

Rod Carew, Minnesota Twins (1967-78), California Angels (1979-85), 3,053 H, .328 Avg.

Harry Heilmann, Detroit Tigers (1914-29), Cincinnati Reds (1930, 1932), 2,660 H, .342 Avg.

Ferguson Jenkins, Philadelphia Phillies (1965-66), Chicago Cubs (1966-73, 1982-83), Texas Rangers (1974-75, 1978-80), Boston Red Sox (1976-77) 284-226, 3,192 K

Ralph Kiner, Pittsburgh Pirates (1946-53), Chicago Cubs (1953-54), Cleveland Indians (1955), 369 HR

Nap Lajoie, Philadelphia Phillies (1896-1900), Philadelphia A’s (1901-02, 1915-16), Cleveland Indians (1902-14), 3,243 H, .338 Avg.

Phil Niekro, Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves (1964-83, 1987), New York Yankees (1984-85), Cleveland Indians (1986-87), Toronto Blue Jays (1987), 318-274, 3.35 ERA, 3,342 K

Gaylord Perry, San Francisco Giants (1962-71), Cleveland Indians (1972-75), Texas Rangers (1975-77, 1980) San Diego Padres (1978-79), New York Yankees (1980), Atlanta Braves (1981), Seattle Mariners (1982-83), Kansas City Royals (1983), 314-265, 3.11 ERA, 3,534 K

George Sisler, St. Louis Browns (1915-22, 1924-27), Washington Senators (1928), Boston Braves (1928-30), 2,812 H, .340 Avg.

Rube Waddell, Louisville Colonels (1897, 1899), Pittsburgh Pirates (1900-01), Chicago Orphans (1901), Philadelphia A’s (1902-07), St. Louis Browns (1908-10), 193-143, 2.16 ERA, 2,316 K

Billy Williams, Chicago Cubs (1959-74), Oakland A’s (1975-76) 426 HR, 1,475 RBI, .290 Avg.


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