Tommy Lasorda was perhaps one of the most iconic figures in Major League Baseball in the 1980s. Everyone knew Lasorda. He led the Dodgers to the NL Pennant twice in the 1970s, and the World Series twice in the 1980s. What’s even more impressive is that his World Championship teams were Hall of Famerless. (Okay, technically, Don Sutton played for the Dodgers in 1988, but he was not the most effective pitcher and was released in August, long before the playoffs.) Until Lasorda did it (twice) in the 1980s, no other team had ever won the World Series without at least one Hall of Famer on the roster. Perhaps one day the Veterans Committee will see fit to induct Steve Garvey, but he is really the only player with an outside (and it’s more than just a bit outside) chance at induction.
I thought it would be interesting to go back through the years and see how many teams have won the World Series without a Hall of Fame player (managers are not under consideration). The most recent team to win with a HOFer was the 1996 Yankees with Wade Boggs, but that will change very soon with Pedro Martinez (2004 Red Sox) likely going in next year. Prior to the 1997 Marlins, you have to go back to 1988 to find a Famerless team (though Don Sutton did play part of the year in LA). Two other teams in the 80s accomplished the feat (1984 Tigers and 1981 Dodgers); as far as I can determine no older team won without at least one Hall of Famer on the roster.
Below are the Famerless World Series winners. Player names in italics are potential future Famers in my opinion. While the Giants and Red Sox and even the ’08 Phillies have a few that could one day be considered Cooperstown worthy, it is doubtful anyone from the 2002 Angels squad will be enshrined.
- 2013 Red Sox
- 2012 Giants
- 2011 Cardinals (Albert Pujols)
- 2010 Giants
- 2009 Yankees (Derek Jeter, Mariano Rivera)
- 2008 Phillies
- 2007 Red Sox (Curt Schilling)
- 2006 Cardinals (Pujols, Scott Rolen)
- 2005 White Sox (Paul Konerko) (* Frank Thomas was with the team, but did not play in the postseason. Can’t remember why, injury maybe?)
- 2004 Red Sox (Schilling, Martinez)
- 2003 Marlins (Miguel Cabrera)
- 2002 Angels
- 2001 Diamondbacks (Schilling, Randy Johnson)
- 2000 Yankees (Jeter, Rivera)
- 1999 Yankees (Jeter, Rivera)
- 1998 Yankees (Jeter, Rivera, Tim Raines)
- 1997 Marlins
- 1988 Dodgers (* Sutton played during the season, but was released in August)
- 1984 Tigers (Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Jack Morris)
- 1981 Dodgers (dare I say Steve Garvey?)
Of course, the Dodgers had Tom Lasorda and the Tigers had Sparky Anderson leading them to the promised land, so even without any future Famers in the field, the teams had brilliant minds in the dugout.
Uniform #2 has been retired by four MLB teams. All of those honored are in the Hall of Fame. There is little doubt that the New York Yankees will put the number out of commission when Derek Jeter retires as well.
Red Schoendienst, St. Louis Cardinals
Schoendienst was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1989 by way of the Veterans Committee. In addition to a solid career as a player, Red also managed the Cardinals to a World Series win in 1967 and the NL Pennant in 1968.
Charlie Gehringer, Detroit Tigers
Nellie Fox, Chicago White Sox
Tommy Lasorda, Los Angeles Dodgers