The Splendid Splinter never won a World Series, but he’d never lose a poll that asked who was the greatest player to never have done so.
So, in the wake of Ken Griffey Jr.’s retirement this week, Jayne in Bedford, Mass., wants to know who is the best non-Red Sox player to never win the World Series. Is it Griffey, Barry Bonds or Ernie Banks?
Griffey, had his career not been marred by injuries, could have possibly become the best player to ever step on a baseball field. He hit 422 home runs from 1990-2000 but just 192 since then. He is still a first-ballot Hall of Famer, and he retires sitting fifth all time with his 630 homers.
Ahead of him by quite a bit is Mr. Bonds, whose 762 are the most in the history of the game. How many of those were aided by performance-enhancing drugs is up for debate, but Bonds’ incredible skills aren’t. Even before he got huge, Bonds was a once-in-a-lifetime type of talent, hitting for average and power, stealing bases and playing outstanding defense. He was the complete package, but his Giants blew a 5-0 lead in Game 6 of the 2002 World Series, and they’d go on to lose Game 7.
And then there is Ernie. The lifelong Cub hit .274, slugged 512 home runs and logged more than 1,000 games at both shortstop and first base, but he never won it all. Playing for the Cubs tends to have that effect on people.
Banks was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1977, and Griffey is a lock to be remembered in Cooperstown, while Bonds … is a different story. That doesn’t matter in this discussion though. So who’s your pick? If it’s Griffey, text “SOX1” to 542542; if it’s Bonds, text “SOX2” to 542542; or if it’s Banks, text “SOX3” to 542542.