Great MLB players who struggled in the postseason

For every Derek Jeter, Reggie Jackson, Madison Bumgarner or Jack Morris, there are a handful of greats throughout MLB history whose regular-season light fails to shine in October. From some of the most notable shortcomings of today, back to legends who came out short decades ago, here is a look at a handful of baseball’s best regular-season performers…who failed to live up to expectations in the postseason. 1 of 25

Jeff Bagwell

Bagwell stands as one of the most decorated Astros of all time, winner of 1991 NL Rookie of the Year and 1994 NL MVP honors. He helped the Astros to the postseason six different times; however he often left his best performances behind by October. Bagwell hit .226 with a .685 OPS over 33 postseason games. In his lone World Series appearance, he went 1-for-8 over 10 plate appearances, only able to DH due to an elbow injury. 2 of 25

Craig Biggio

Biggio spent his entire 20-year career with the Astros, becoming the club’s career leader in seven different categories, including hits, runs scored and games played. Alongside Jeff Bagwell as one of the famed “Killer B’s” of Houston, he played in nine postseason series in his career. But like his Hall of Fame teammate, Biggio struggled in October, hitting only .234 overall for his career and failing to drive in a run or steal a base over his first 14 postseason games. 3 of 25

Barry Bonds

The most decorated player to never capture a championship in his career, Bonds lived on the brink of postseason greatness throughout his career. He reached the National League Championship Series on four different occasions but hit only .203 (16-for-79) once there. He did thrive once finally breaking through to the World Series, hitting .471 with four home runs in 2002, but subpar overall play caused his teams to come up short too many times. 4 of 25

Roy Campanella

Campy was a three-time MVP and helped the Brooklyn Dodgers reach the World Series five times between 1949 and 1956. But after owning a career split of .276/.360/.500 in regular-season play, the Dodger catcher’s performance tailed off in the Fall Classic. Campanella hit .237 with four home runs in 32 World Series games. However, two of those homers came in the 1955 Series, which the Dodgers won. 5 of 25

Robinson Cano

Cano reached the postseason in seven of his nine seasons with the Yankees and even assisted on the final out of the 2009 World Series. Otherwise, his postseason career has featured some craterous performances, including a .133 mark in 2006 and .136 in the 2009 Series. In his most recent postseason appearances to date, Cano hit a combined .075 (3-for-40) over two rounds in 2012 playoff action. 6 of 25

Prince Fielder

Fielder was one of the premier sluggers of his era, averaging 35 homers a season between 2006 and 2015. Yet during that same time span, he suffered some significant power outages by the fall. Fielder hit just five homers over 185 postseason at-bats while hitting just .189. This was lowlighted by three series of averages of .150 or worst. 7 of 25

Tom Glavine

At his best, Glavine produced one of the dominant postseason performances of all time, allowing one hit over eight shutout innings to close out the 1995 World Series. His excellent World Series career — a 2.16 ERA, 4-3 record over eight starts — masks some significant struggles in others. In 1992, he allowed 13 hits and 10 runs over seven innings in two NLCS starts. In four other series, Glavine had an ERA of over 5.00. Overall, his 87 career walks are the most in postseason history. 8 of 25

Dwight Gooden

The “Doctor” was out by the time October rolled around. Over 12 appearances and 59 innings, Gooden went winless in his postseason career, going 0-4. He posted an 8.22 ERA over three ALDS appearances, which came later in his bumpy career, but he didn’t fare much better before his problems with substance abuse derailed his career. At his peak form in 1986, Gooden went 0-2 with a 8.00 ERA against the Red Sox in World Series play, allowing 17 hits and walking four. 9 of 25

Clayton Kershaw

Kershaw has played an irreplaceable role in the Dodgers’ run of success over the decade but has often been at the center of their postseason letdowns as well. He owns a sub-.500 (9-10) postseason record despite owning the third-best winning percentage in regular-season history. He has allowed five or more runs eight times in his playoff career, the most in history, and is also one of two players ever to allow seven runs in consecutive postseason starts (2013-2014). 10 of 25

Willie Mays

Mays made five trips to the postseason during his dazzling career and left without a memorable moment to his credit. He hit just one home run during 99 plate appearances and contributed just six extra-base hits. In 1951, he hit into a record three double plays in Game 4 of the World Series while hitting just .182 in a losing effort against the Yankees. 11 of 25

Mark McGwire

McGwire staked his reputation by hitting tape measure homers for the A’s and Cardinals. However, he didn’t test the dimensions of many ballparks in October, hitting just five postseason homers in 42 games. After hitting .389 in the 1989 ALCS, McGwire hit just .189 over his next seven playoff series (79 at-bats). 12 of 25

Joe Morgan

Morgan was a central part of Cincinnati’s “Big Red Machine” of the 1970s, helping the club to consecutive World Series wins in 1975 and ’76. However, he was often missing in action by the time the playoffs had come around. The two-time MVP hit just .182 over 50 postseason games. In the Cincinnati’s World Series loss in 1972, Morgan hit .125 (3-for-24) and hit underneath .200 in six of his 11 career playoff series. 13 of 25

Jake Peavy

The 2007 NL Cy Young Award winner stands as one of the most horrid postseason hurlers of all time. Over nine playoff starts, Peavy was owned to the tone of a 7.98 ERA and 1-5 record. He worked to a 1.82 WHIP, letting up 53 hits over 38 innings and walking 17 in the process. Over three World Series starts, Peavy had a 9.58 ERA, including a 12.79 showing amid two losses in the 2014 Series with the Giants. 14 of 25

Tony Perez

One of the most feared run producers in history, Perez surprisingly contributed little to the scoreboard in postseason play. Over 47 career playoff games, he drove in 25 runs, most of which came during a three home run, seven RBI effort during 1975 series (in which he still hit just .179). Take away that ’75 showing, and Perez never homered in 26 other World Series games and hit underneath .100 in two separate NLCS appearances. 15 of 25

David Price

Baseball’s first $30 million per year pitcher, Price has performed well south of that in postseason value. Although he won a pair of games in relief, it took Price 10 years to win his first postseason start, which came in the 2018 ALCS. Up to that point, Price had routinely been shellacked in October, owning a 5.44 ERA between 2010 and 2017, offset by a 1-8 record and 11 home runs over 12 games. 16 of 25

Jorge Posada

Posada played in a whopping 125 postseason games in his career, the second most in history. While he played in six World Series and won five, Posada’s playoff performances weren’t particularly memorable on an individual level. Over 492 trips to the plate, he hit just .248 and contributed a -2.33 win probability added. Posada’s average in ALCS play sat at .224 before lowering to .219 lifetime in the World Series. 17 of 25

Jackie Robinson

The Dodgers reached the World Series in six of Robinson’s 10 years with the club, an outcome that was far from happenstance. But while Jackie’s dynamic play regularly launched Brooklyn to the top of the National League, his playoff struggles often were an Achilles’ heel between more titles coming to Ebbets Field. Robinson hit under .200 in three of his six Series appearances and managed just six stolen bases in the process. 18 of 25

Alex Rodriguez

Carrying all of the substantial expectations that come with being $250 million superstar with the New York Yankees, the spotlight was especially bright on A-Rod by October. However more often than not, it was for the wrong reasons. Rodriguez hit under .200 in eight separate Series with the Yankees, tallying 33 strikeouts against just five RBI in those series.

By: Matt Whitener

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