Many of the great players in history have never won a World Series. Barry Bonds didn’t make it. Neither did Ted Williams. Not Ken Griffey Jr., Ty Cobb, Tony Gwynn, Harmon Killebrew, or Ernie Banks. And since we got down to it, Mike Trout doesn’t have a ring either. (You may be aware that he hasn’t even won a postseason game.)
Still, we like to see sports stars win a World Series title. Much of what made the Dodgers’ triumph last year welcome was that Clayton Kershaw added that detail to his Hall of Fame arguments. We’re talking about some of the best players we’ve seen and how appropriate it would be for them to get a ring before retiring.
Here’s a look at 11 active players who have had illustrious careers but haven’t won a World Series yet and could do it this season. (According to FanGraphs, the Angels have a 0% chance of winning the World Series, so Trout does not appear on this list.)
1. Zack Greinke, RHP, Astros (age 37)
Greinke must be guaranteed a Hall of Fame spot by now, right? He hasn’t hit any of the “traditional” round numbers like 300 wins (he has 219), but given the way baseball is played today, no one is going to hit 300 wins for long. (Greinke and Justin Verlander are the only pitchers with more than 200 wins and there are only four active pitchers who are over 100 and each is in their 30s.)
Greinke lost 17 games in 2005 and won 19 in 2015 (it was absurd that he did not win the Cy Young Award that season), and it would not be surprising if he won another 15 games in 2025. He is the ace of the Astros what if Houston crowned this season, he may be the only player on the team for whom people rejoice.
2. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds (age 37)
Votto, who recently hit 2,000 lifetime hits, is enjoying a rebirth right now and is making good arguments for the Hall of Fame. He is building his best season since 2017, with the third-highest slugging of his career (.575). The only thing that has eluded him is postseason success. Not only has he not won a Fall Classic, but he has never won a postseason series.
3. Jacob deGrom, RHP, Mets (age 33)
When he’s healthy, he’s the best pitcher in the major leagues, but that’s always the problem, right? We still don’t know if deGrom will launch again this season. If he doesn’t, it’s hard to think the Mets can put up a fight. DeGrom didn’t do very well in his first and only World Series in 2015. Will he get another chance?
4. Andrew McCutchen, OF, Phillies (age 34)
It’s worth remembering that McCutchen – the 2013 NL MVP – was one of the most electrifying players in the majors for half a decade. Injuries have hampered him in recent years, but the veteran is a crucial figure in what the Phillies are trying to do.
5. Nolan Arenado, 3B, Cardinals (age 30)
He’s a little younger than most of the players on this list, but that’s a quality and not a flaw: He’s had a long enough career to start gathering arguments for his Hall of Fame candidacy and he’s old enough. to have a guaranteed position if he maintains his level.
6. Giancarlo Stanton, OF / BD, Yankees (age 31)
Injuries have been a stumbling block in what seemed like a 600-homer career: He was 305 at 28, but has only hit 25 since. Still, he’s a fearsome slugger and his thunder will make him a legend beyond his stats. But this would be his track record if the Yankees conquer a title: World Series Champion, National League MVP with Miami one of the greatest figures in the 30 franchises.
7. Evan Longoria, 3B, Giants (35 years old)
Longoria fell short of the big star the Rays anticipated when they gave him his long contract extension, but things turned out well for Tampa Bay and Longoria in the end. The third baseman is having a rebound that has been key in the great moment of San Francisco.
8. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Braves (age 31)
Freeman’s Hall of Fame arguments took a huge leap with his MVP campaign last year, but he would need a much better one to lead an Atlanta team – which has been plagued by injuries – to a Series title. World. Imagine: Without the Venezuelan Ronald Acuña Jr.… and Freeman still leads his team to the championship.
9. Paul Goldschmidt, 1B, Cardinals (age 33)
In San Luis the first baseman has not shown the level he had in Arizona, but in any case he has been the anchor for a team that sometimes seems to have no direction. So winning a World Series with the Cardinals would be the culmination of his career and would elevate him to another level of stardom.
10-11. Manny Machado, 3B, Padres (29 years old) and Bryce Harper, OF, Phillies (28 years old)
They are both in their late 20s and adding achievements to their histories that could be worthy of the Hall of Fame. Both have their chance this year – and they could even meet in this postseason. They would be higher on this list if they were in their 30s, so in a few years we need to see what stage they are at.