There are 205 major league baseball players enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame (HofF). Of these, there are only 12 HoFers that did not play in one World Series (WS) contest. The reasons why these HoFers did not play in the Fall Classic are many. Usually, the HoF player, such as shortstop-first baseman Ernie Banks, who played his entire career with the Chicago Cubs, played on weak Cub teams that almost never had a chance to make the WS. Others, such as pitcher Phil Neikro, saw some post-season action, in Niekro’s case in the 1969 playoffs against the Mets. But the “Miracle Mets” in the 1969 East-West National League division playoffs beat Niekro’s team, the Atlanta Braves.
Niekro, for example, according to Baseball Digest, pitched 24 years in the majors (1964-1987), spending the majority of his career with the Braves. He is the HoF non-WS pitcher who leads this category in wins, with 318.
Banks, who played from 1953-1971, had the most home runs (HRs) of any Hof non-WS player, with 512 round-trippers, with out appearing in a WS. In addition, Banks’ home run total placed him in the elite “500 home run club,” but not in one World Series. Banks also collected a total of 2,583 hits, sixth on the list for players who fit into the HoF/non-WS list.
Pitcher Gaylord Perry played for a variety of teams during his 22 years (1962-
1983), but couldn’t link up with a WS bound team, despite being on the move so often. He is second to Niekro in career wins (314).
Outfielder Andre Dawson, who played 21 years (1976-1996) in the majors, leads all HoF/non-WS players in games played, with 2,637. But not one WS game. He is also second in HRs (438) and third in hits (2,774).
Chicago White Sox pitcher Ted Lyons, who played 21 years “in the bigs (1923-1942,1946)” all with the Sox, is fourth on the list with 260 career wins.
Another “lifer” White Sox, HoFer shortstop Luke Appling, (1930-1943, 1945-1950), comes in fourth for the most games without appearing in a WS (2,422), and fifth (2,749) for the highest number of hits in this category.
Still another Chicago team player, this time as a Chicago Cub outfielder for most of his career, Billy Williams is third in games (2,488), HRs (426) and fifth in hits (2,711) in the HoFer/non-WS category. Billy played 1959-1976.
First basemen-second basemen Rod Carew, who played from 1967-1985, split his time in the majors between the Minnesota Twins and the California Angels. Carew is first in hits (3,053), and fourth in games (2,469) in the category.
First baseman George Sisler, who held the record for the highest number of hits in one season for many years, was second in hits (2,812). Sisler played the majority of his career with the St. Louis Browns. He played from 1915-1930.
Outfielder Harry Heilmann, who spent the lion’s share of his baseball career (1914-1932) with the Detroit Tigers, is fifth on the list in hits (2,660), of batters that did not play in any WS, but is nevertheless enshrined in the Hall for his batting prowess. Heilmann retired with a .342 batting average.
Pitcher Jim Bunning (1955-1971), who played the great part of his career for the Phillies and Detroit, is fourth in wins for non-HoFers with 224.
Another Chicago pitcher, Fergie Jenkins (1965-1983) spent the majority of his career with the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers. He is third on the list in wins for players who never appeared in a WS, with 284 wins.
It’s a shame that these HoFers never got to prove themselves in the WS. I guess it is a matter of luck, being a member of a very good team, or being unlucky enough to play on teams that were bad or just not good enough to go all the way to the WS. The later was the fate of these 12 players.
Baseball Digest, September/October 2011, Vol. 70, No. 5
National Baseball Hall of Fame Members:
Phil Niekro’s Statistics:
Ernie Banks’ Statistics:
Gaylord Perry’s Statistics:
Andre Dawson’s Statistics:
Ted Lyons’ Statistics:
Luke Appling’s Statistics:
Billy Williams’ Statistics:
Rod Carew’s Statistics:
George Sisler’s Statistics:
Harry Heilmann’s Statistics:
Jim Bunning’s Statistics:
Fergie Jenkins Statisics: