Entering the 2006 season, former Jay hero Carlos Delgado had played more than 1,500 career games without a playoff appearance, second most among all active players behind only the ill-fated Jeromy Burnitz, whose current employer in Pittsburgh doesn't appear likely to break that streak. Delgado's streak, however, appears likely to come to a screeching halt as his New York Mets are running away and hiding from the rest of the AAAA National League.
Actually, 13 players in the history of the Great Game have more than 2,000 career appearances without so much as a sniff at the post-season. leading the way, as many would guess, is the indomitable Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks at 2,528. But then -- Luke Appling, Mickey Vernon and Buddy Bell come between Banks and his old teammate, Ron Santo. Others on the 2000+ career games without a playoff appearance list include Joe Torre, who has more than made up for his ring-less playing career as a manager in the Bronx, and Hall of Famers like Harry Heilmann and George Sisler.
In fact, thanks to this new feature at BaseballReference.com ...
... we can see a complete list of all players who have made at least 1,000 MLB regular-season appearances without breaking into the post-season. That list includes active players, and a few -- like Detroit's Sean Casey, St. Louis' Deivi Cruz and Oakland's Jason Kendall and Mark Kotsay, for instance -- seem likely to have their names removed after the upcoming post-season. Still, we could probably piece together an awfully good lineup of players who never quite made it into the post-season; in fact, we'll cut off eligibility at 1800 games, for a list of 27 possible players -- including no pitchers, of course, as all-time pitching appearances leader Jesse Orosco took the mound just 1252 regular season times .. and made another 24 appearances in the post-season to boot.
So, the complete lack of a pitching staff -- though nominations are welcome! -- could keep this team from the post-season yet again. But let's see how the lineups look ...
Just a Bunch of Regular (Season) Joes
** indicates Hall of Famer
* indicates All-Star
C Joe Torre* (.297, 252 homers)
1B Mickey Vernon* (.286, 172 homers)
2B Del Pratt* (.292 in 12 years)
SS Ernie Banks** (.274, 512 homers)
3B Ron Santo* (.277, 342 homers)
LF Harry Heilmann** (.342, 183 homers)
CF Cy Williams (.292, 251 homers)
RF Minnie Minoso* (.298, 186 homers)
DH Rocky Colavito* (.266, 374 homers)
C Al Lopez** (.261 in 19 years)
1B George Sisler** (.340, 102 homers)
2B Marty McManus (,289, 120 homers)
SS Luke Appling** (HOF SS played 40 games at 2B)
3B Buddy Bell* (.279, 201 homers)
LF Roy Sievers* (.267, 318 homers)
CF Clyde Milan (.285, 495 SB)
RF Bob Johnson (.296, 288 homers)
DH Bob Bailey (.257, 189 homers)
The only players on the 1800+ playoff-free game list not to make either of the lineups above are 1B Hal Chase, OF Johnny Callison, C Rick Ferrell, SS Jim Fregosi, SS Don Kessinger and OF Elmer Valo. Actually, if you move Kessinger to the other side of 2B, you're just an OF and a DH short of a third team being in place!
So, what say? These two lineups collectively shake the curse and make the playoffs? Depending on the battery in the pitching machine lasting, of course ...