Here you are, two outs left in the bottom of the ninth inning of game seven of the World Series. There’s a runner on third, and your team is down by one run. The game is in your hands. The pitcher throws a fastball down the middle, and you hit a ground to the shortstop.
With every breath in your body, you hustle down the line to beat the throw to first. You run through the bag and look bag for the umpires call. OUT. You’re not alone; you just belong on this list of superstars who never won a championship.
Dan Marino Broke Every NFL Record But Was Broken In The Super Bowl
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Dan Marino carried the Miami Dolphins to the Super Bowl in his second year in the league. He broke every passing record on his way to the big show but ran into the brick wall that was the San Francisco 49ers and had his heart broken in the process.
Playing for the Dolphins for 16 more seasons, the most prolific passer of his time never made it back to the Super Bowl. His last game was one of the worst games in NFL history. Miami lost to the Jaguars 62-7 in a playoff game with more turnovers than touchdowns for the legend. Next, the greatest NBA star who never won it all!
Charles Barkley Was The Greatest To Never Win
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It’s hard to take Charles Barkley seriously during the NBA Finals when he never won a ring himself. The MVP of the league in 1993 took the Bulls to seven games before losing to Michael Jordan. Being one of the league’s most valuable players loses its shine when you can’t kiss the Larry O’Brien Trophy in June.
After retiring, the very large human being that is Charles Barkley got into sports broadcasting. Full of controversial opinions about how the game has changed since his heyday, players like Draymond Green find it easy to disregard Barkley’s criticism thanks to his incomplete resume.
Ken Griffey Jr. Never Even Made It To The World Series
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Baseball is a pure team sport. Just ask Ken Griffey Jr., who played for 22 seasons but never played in a World Series. Every season Griffey Jr. crushed baseballs out of ballparks but was never surrounded by the support system he needed to get a ring.
Maybe the chase is what kept the perennial all-star going. The back half of his career was filled with injuries and clubhouse controversies. Still, he retired with 630 career home runs and had the highest percentage of votes ever to get into the Hall of Fame. Not bad consolation prizes! Terrell Owens is next, and he doesn’t want his consolation prize!
Terrell Owens May Not Have Deserved To Win The Super Bowl
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Terrell Owens retired from the NFL as the league’s second most prolific wide receiver of all-time. Only Jerry Rice had more receiving yards. Owens, however, played for five teams, each time being blamed for bad relationships between him and teammates. He also refused to show up to his Hall of Fame induction in 2018.
Owens might not have deserved to win a Super Bowl, and he never did. He appeared in one with the Eagles where he caught nine passes for 122 yards. Try as he might to prove his haters wrong, Owens came up short. The Eagles lost to the Patriots despite his performance. Should we call it karma?
Steve Nash Won A Ring, Just Not As A Player
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Steve Nash never made it to the NBA Finals during his 16-year career. Drafted by the Phoenix Suns, he was traded to the Dallas Mavericks before going back to Phoenix and becoming one of the best players at his position. Nash’s talent only carried his teams so far, though, and he retired in 2015, never tasting glory.
Six months after calling it quits, Nash took a consulting job with the Golden State Warriors. Golden State won a record 73 games that year but lost the NBA Finals to the Cavaliers. The last two seasons saw his lousy luck streak broken as the Warriors won back-to-back titles. Nash finally got a ring, just a little too late. Coming up, learn why not winning it all caused Barry Sanders to retire early!
Barry Sanders Retired Because The Lions Were Helpless
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When Barry Sanders retired after a 10-year NFL career, he still had plenty of gas in the tank. The problem was he wanted to win a Super Bowl and the Detroit Lions were incapable of this. Frustrated, Sanders demanded to be traded or released. The Lions refused, so he retired, choosing to live in infamy then play another losing snap.
Sanders finished his career with 15,269 rushing yards, putting him third on the all-time rushing list. If he had been able to play a few more seasons, he likely would have unthroned Emmit Smith and maybe even won a Lombardi Trophy.
The Giants Tried And Failed To Get Barry Bonds A World Series Trophy
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The Barry Bonds era in San Francisco is defined by the team overspending on free agents every offseason to win a championship for its franchise player. Unsurprisingly, the plan backfired and Bonds retired with one World Series appearance in 2002 (a loss to the Anaheim Angels).
The years that followed his departure saw the Giants build up their farm-system and use home-grown talent to return to the World Series in 2010. They beat the Rangers in five games, winning their first World Series in San Francisco. And the whole time Barry Bonds was left wanting.
Warren Moon Was Never Given A Fair Chance
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Warren Moon was not your typical quarterback. Running with the ball before running was “cool,” the NFL refused to touch the talented quarterback while he dominated the Canadian Football League. It was only after winning his fifth consecutive Grey Cup the NFL came calling.
A transcendent quarterback during his 17 NFL seasons, Moon never repeated his CFL success. Like Steve Nash, Moon found a ring in retirement. As a part of the Seahawks broadcasting team for the 2014 season, the Hall of Fame quarterback was given the gift of jewelry. Keep reading to learn which NHL legend is lives title-less in retirement!
Marcel Dionne Never Got His Night With The Stanley Cup
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You may have noticed by now that there aren’t many NHL greats on this list. Most of them won Stanley Cups. Marcel Dionne, sadly, did not. One of top NHL stars of all-time, Dionne played for such average teams that he never even made it out of the second round of the playoffs.
As so many of these stories go, one of his teams climbed to the mountain’s peak after he left. Four years after leaving the Los Angeles Kings, the team made it to the Finals. They lost to the Montreal Canadiens, a team which featured Dionne’s brother Gilbert. We hope he’s let Marcel try the ring on at least once!
Jim Kelly Went To Four Straight Super Bowls And Lost Them All
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Try as he might, Jim Kelly never won a Super Bowl. You’d think he’d accidentally win one after four straight appearances. Unfortunately, the accidents Kelly needed to happen were never his favor. During his first Super Bowl, Bills kicker Scott Norwood missed a chip-shot field that would have won the game.
Two Super Bowls later Kelly’s Bills were blown out by the Troy Aikman led Cowboys 52-17! In his fourth and final February appearance, Kelly was defeated by Aikman again, this time by a more respectable score of 30-13. Respectable here is a relative term, of course.
Ichiro Suzuki Is The Warren Moon Of MLB
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Few Major League Baseball superstars have done as much for the sport as Ichiro Suzuki. Coming to MLB after nine seasons in Japan, the excitement he brought to the big league was second to none. From 2001 until 2018, Suzuki amassed over 3,000 hits and 1,420 runs.
In 2012, the New York Yankees got Suzuki the closest he would ever get to the World Series. The team played the Detroit Tigers in the ALCS, losing. During the series, he hit his first postseason home run. Our next athlete never made it to the NBA Finals after a legendary college run!
Patrick Ewing Used Up His Title Luck In College
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Playing four years of college ball, Patrick Ewing led Georgetown to one NCAA title. For the next 17 seasons that would be all he’d get. As a member of the New York Knicks, Ewing appeared in the NBA Finals twice and was sent home packing both times.
Outside of the NBA, Ewing appeared twice in the Olympics, winning two gold medals for the United States men’s team. His first came in 1984 followed by his second in 1992. The victories were not hard-fought, though. In 1992, the United States beat its opponents by an average score of 44 points per game!
Tony Gonzalez Holds Every Major Tight End Record But Never Held A Lombardi Trophy
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Tony Gonzalez is the greatest tight end to ever play football. Holding just about every major record for the position, it’s hard to deny how great Gonzalez was during his 17-year career. We think he might trade some of those records for the chance to hoist the Lombardi Trophy once though!
He got close in 2012, facing off against the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship game. With the Falcons leading at half-time, the Colin Kaepernick-led 49ers stormed back and punched their ticket to the Super Bowl. Gonzalez retired after the next season and joined the CBS broadcast team.
Ted Williams Fell Victim To The Curse Of The Bambino
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Ted Williams played for the Boston Red Sox from 1939 until 1960. The “Curse of the Bambino” lasted from 1918 until 2004. If you do the math, that means Williams never won a World Series. He did, however, play in the 1946 World Series, although it’s highly questionable if he should have.
Five days before the World Series was set to start, Williams was hit in the arm with a pitch. His elbow “swelled up like a boiled egg” and he couldn’t swing a bat for four days. Somehow he played all seven games that followed, going five for 25, including a clunker of a game seven performance. He was definitely cursed! There’s another cursed athlete next, can you guess who it is?
Ernie Banks Couldn’t Beat The Curse Of The Billy Goat
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From 1953 until 1971 Ernie Banks anchored the Chicago Cubs lineup. Unfortunately, the “Curse of the Billy Goat” provided a current too strong for his anchor. Chicago stood firmly behind their 14-time all-star, even when the Milwaukee Braves offered half their team and cash in exchange for the franchise changing talent.
The proposed trade came on the eve of the 1960 World Series. It was the closest Banks would ever be associated with the best of seven series. The Cubs would finally break their curse in 2016, beating the Cleveland Indians in game seven. Banks was not alive to see it.
Randy Moss Did It All Except Win
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Randy Moss was a part of one of the greatest teams in NFL history. Catching passes from Tom Brady in 2007, the Patriots ran the table on the league, going 18-0 on their way to the Super Bowl. They couldn’t finish the epic season though and lost to Eli Manning and the Giants, going 18-1 on the season.
Five years later, Moss returned to the Super Bowl with the 49ers. Playing the Baltimore Ravens, San Francisco nearly stormed back from a 28-7 halftime deficit to get Moss his long-awaited ring. He’ll just have to settle for being fourth on the all-time receiving yards list!
LaDainian Tomlinson Was Really Good At Almost Winning It All
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Stop us if you’ve heard this story before. LaDainian Tomlinson spent 11 seasons in the NFL. During that time he appeared in the AFC Championship game twice, losing both times. His first loss came after a devastating knee injury limited his physical ability. His second saw him stuff for just 16 total yards.
Retiring without a ring can’t be fun, but Tomlinson has a few accolades to keep him happy. Most notably he was named the league MVP in 2006, an honor rarely awarded to running backs. He was also named to the NFL 2000’s All-Decade Team. Next is an athlete who was one shot away from changing his narrative!
John Stockton Fell Victim To Michael Jordan
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The good news for John Stockton is he’s not alone as one of the greats who lost the NBA Finals to the greatest of all-time. In Stockton’s only finals appearance in 1999, thing were looking good. The Jazz were up on the Bulls 86-83 in game six with 40 seconds left after Stockton made a three-pointer.
Michael Jordan took over after that, scoring two field goals to give the Bulls an 87-86 lead. Stockton found himself with the ball in his hands to end the game and missed the most important shot of his life. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2009.
Ty Cobb Lost Back-To-Back-To-Back World Series
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Ty Cobb spent 24 seasons in Major League Baseball. During that time he appeared in the World Series three times, all in a row. From 1907 to 1909 Cobb had a chance to etch his name in the history books. He found his way into the books, just not on the right side of history!
You might even call Ty Cobb the original Jim Kelly. He may have lost three World Series, but it wasn’t because of how he played. Cobb retired in 1928, spending the last two years of his career with the Philadelphia Athletics. He never won another pennant.
Champ Bailey Lost The Super Bowl And Retired
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Champ Bailey is the definition of a one and done Super Bowl loser. Entering the NFL in 1999, Bailey made it to his first Super Bowl in 2014, a game the Peyton Manning-led Broncos lost to the Seattle Seahawks. Bailey was lost after the game, getting released by the Broncos.
A free agent for the second time in his career, Bailey signed with the New Orleans Saints for seven million dollars. After 14 long seasons, his play was not up to par, and the Saints released him before week one. Bailey officially announced his retirement three months later, signing a one day contract with the Broncos to do so.