Special Report

Greatest Players Who Never Won a Championship

Source: Otto Greule Jr / Getty Images

15. Ken Griffey Jr.
> Position, team(s): Outfielder: Seattle Mariners, Cincinnati Reds
> Career: 1989-2010
> Accolades: 13x All-Star, 10x Gold Glove, MVP, Hall of Fame
> Playoff appearances: 3

Though Ken Griffey Jr. was one of baseball’s marquee hitters for two decades, he rarely played on winning teams. As a Seattle Mariner, he made the playoffs just twice, winning one series. Griffey Jr. was traded to the Cincinnati Reds, where he played for more than eight seasons without making the playoffs. After being traded to the Chicago White Sox, the Kid made his third and final postseason appearance, but lost in the first round. Despite his lack of success, Griffey is fondly remembered by baseball fans for his terrific defense, towering home runs, and love for the game. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame on his first ballot.

Source: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images

14. John Stockton
> Position, team(s): Point guard: Utah Jazz
> Career: 1984-2003
> Accolades: 10x All-Star, 9x assist leader, Hall of Fame
> Playoff appearances: 19

John Stockton epitomizes what it means to be a point guard — distributing the ball to his teammates better than any other player. He has more career assists than any other player by a wide margin. He also played great defense and owns the NBA record for most career steals. Stockton played for the Utah Jazz for 19 seasons and made the playoffs every year. Despite this, he never won a title. His attempts were consistently thwarted by teams like the Rockets and Trail Blazers in the West. His Jazz made two Finals appearances, losing to Michael Jordan’s Bulls both times.

Source: Kellie Landis / Getty Images

13. Pavel Bure
> Position, team(s): Right wing: Vancouver Canucks, Florida Panthers
> Career: 1991-2003
> Accolades: 3x All-Star, 1x Calder Trophy, 2x Richard Trophy, Hall of Fame
> Playoff appearances: 5

Pavel Bure was one of the most potent goal scoring threats in NHL history. He led the league in goals three times — once with the Vancouver Canucks and twice with the Florida Panthers. He racked up 779 points in 702 games played. Bure played in the playoffs in each of his first four seasons, coming closest to the Stanley Cup in 1994, when his Canucks lost in seven games to the New York Rangers. His final postseason appearance came in 2000, when he and the Florida Panthers suffered a first-round sweep.

Source: NNO / Wikimedia Commons

12. Carl Yastrzemski
> Position, team(s): Outfielder: Boston Red Sox
> Career: 1961-1983
> Accolades: 18x All-Star, 7x Gold Glove, MVP, Hall of Fame
> Playoff appearances: 2

Carl Yastrzemski never won a World Series, but he did help take the Boston Red Sox from a hapless franchise to serious contenders. Before Yaz played in Boston, the Sox hadn’t reached the postseason since 1946. His best year came in 1967, when he won the Triple Crown by leading the AL with 44 home runs, 121 RBIs, and a .326 batting average. That year, Boston made its first World Series appearance in over 20 years, losing to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games. He reached the World Series just one more time in his career, again losing in seven games, this time to the Cincinnati Reds, in 1975.

Source: The Sporting News Collection / Wikimedia Commons

11. George Gervin
> Position, team(s): Shooting guard: San Antonio Spurs, Chicago Bulls
> Career: 1973-1986
> Accolades: 12x All-Star, 5x All-NBA 1st Team, Hall of Fame
> Playoff appearances: 13

Known as “Iceman,” George Gervin was one cool customer. After dominating the ABA in his early years, he proved he could keep pace in the tougher NBA as well. Gervin played for the San Antonio Spurs for 12 seasons, making the All-Star team each year. He also led the NBA in scoring average four times. Gervin maintained a high scoring average in the playoffs, but he never had the pieces around him needed to win a title. In fact, Gervin never even made it to the NBA Finals. He played one final season in Chicago with the Bulls and second-year player Michael Jordan, but the Bulls were swept by the Celtics.

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