Never played for...

by vrooomed - 66 cards (Last updated on Oct. 31, 2018)

1. 1952 Topps #44b Con Dempsey

Con was drafted by the Phillies from the Pirates, with whom he saw 3 games in MLB. He didn't play in 1952 and in 1953, he was off to Oakland to play in the PCL.

2. 1954 Topps #104 Mike Sandlock

December 19, 1953: Purchased by the Philadelphia Phillies from the Pittsburgh Pirates.
This was late in his career, and he saw 1 AAA game for the Phillies in Syracuse in 1954 and that was it. He played for San Diego of the PCL that same year, but that was the end of his playing career.

3. 1955 Topps #114 Lou Ortiz

Never saw action above AAA, and never even saw minor league action with the Phillies.

4. 1955 Topps #167 Tom Casagrande

Three stints in the minors with the Phillies, and a stint each with the Senators and Red Sox, but never saw action higher than AAA.

5. 1959 Topps #431 Whammy Douglas

January 30, 1959: Traded by the Pittsburgh Pirates with Jim Pendleton, John Powers and Frank Thomas to the Cincinnati Redlegs for Smoky Burgess, Harvey Haddix and Don Hoak.
He only played in the majors in 1957 with Pittsburgh. He played 2 seasons in the Reds minors and then went back to the Pirates organization.
Cool name.

6. 1960 Topps #228 Ernie Johnson

Before 1960 Season: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Indians.
April 12, 1960: Released by the Cleveland Indians. Never played in pro ball after being released.

7. 1962 Topps #308 Neil Chrisley

October 16, 1961: Purchased with Bob Botz by the New York Mets from the Milwaukee Braves.
April 2, 1962: Returned to the Milwaukee Braves by the New York Mets following previous purchase.
Also, Topps couldn't even use a photo from 1961 for this guy?

8. 1963 Topps #334 Wynn Hawkins

November 27, 1962: Purchased by the New York Mets from the Cleveland Indians.
He never played for the Mets or even in their organization. Somehow, he went back to the Indians and played 1963 and 1964 on their AAA team.

9. 1964 Topps #167 Senators Rookies Mike Brumley / Lou Piniella

Piniella: The first of two Piniella cards on the list, and both cards are for different teams. "Sweet Lou" spent the 1963 season in the minors for Washington, before being traded in 1964 to the Orioles, where he would make his MLB debut.

10. 1966 Topps #302 Ernie Bowman

September 25, 1965: the Milwaukee Braves sent Ernie Bowman and Lou Klimchock to the New York Mets to complete an earlier deal made on August 5, 1965. August 5, 1965: The Milwaukee Braves sent players to be named later to the New York Mets for Billy Cowan. (Date given is approximate. Exact date is uncertain.)
October 12, 1966: Traded by the New York Mets with Lou Klimchock to the Cleveland Indians for Floyd Weaver.
He did manage to play for the Mets AAA team in 1966, but he never saw the majors after playing for the Giants in 1961, 1962, and 1963.



Mar. 12, 2017 - 8:32AM

Bob Aspromonte, invited to Cincinnati Reds camp in 1972, never made/joined team.

Whammy Douglas, 9 year career in minors except for 11 games in 1957 with Pittsburgh Pirates, part of trade with Cincinnati in January 1959 but never called up from minors.

Neil Chrisley, 16 Oct 61 purchased by Mets from Milwaukee Braves; 2 Apr 62 Mets returned him to the Braves.

Mar. 12, 2017 - 10:12AM

Thanks, C2C, for those additions!

Mar. 12, 2017 - 2:48PM

A fun fact about Whammy Douglas is that he is one of the few players to ever play in the MLB that was blind in one eye.

Mar. 12, 2017 - 3:15PM

Jose Canseco with the Expos. I believe he retired before he played with them.

Mar. 12, 2017 - 3:50PM

Canseco was released by the Expos in Spring Training 2002. 

Mar. 12, 2017 - 4:26PM

Ernie Johnson was signed by the Indians in the off-season, but he was released a week before the season opener.


Mar. 12, 2017 - 4:32PM

I'd also forgotten about this modern airbrush marvel--Ensberg signed as a free agent after his release by the Yankees, but he spent the entire time at AAA Buffalo.

Mar. 12, 2017 - 4:46PM

Wynn Hawkins, 27 Nov 62 purchased by Mets from Indians

Ernie Bowman, 25 Sep 65 traded to Mets; spent 1966 season in AAA; 12 Oct 66 traded to Indians

Mar. 12, 2017 - 7:51PM

Not sure if you want to include any of the Michael Jordan, Chicago White Sox cards. Or the Eric Lindros, Toronto Blue Jays gimmick card.

Mar. 12, 2017 - 8:08PM

Thanks again for the suggestions/additions. Please, keep them coming!

Mar. 12, 2017 - 8:36PM

I'll leave the gimmick cards out for now, although the Jordan could work since he did actually play for the White Sox org. Lindros, as much as I am a fan, he never was Blue Jays "property". At least all these other one were supposed to be with the team they are pictured with. Thanks for all the suggestions.

Mar. 13, 2017 - 10:12PM

Chico Salmon, drafted by Seattle in the 1968 Expansion Draft; 31 Mar 69 traded to Baltimore

Rollie Sheldon, cannot find any record; drafts, transactions, rosters, etc; that he was ever a Pilot. Possibly one of those Spring training walk-on/invitees.

Donn Clendenon, Traded by Montreal to Houston, he refused to report to Houston; Montreal sent Jack Billingham, Skip Guinn and $100,000 to Houston to complete the trade.

Mar. 14, 2017 - 9:51PM

Thanks C2C for the additions. I remembered one as I was adding those - the 1979 Bump Wills Blue Jays card.

Mar. 15, 2017 - 7:03AM

I love the story behind Bump's nickname. He was called Little Bumpy because of his "gymnastics in the womb".

Mar. 15, 2017 - 7:31AM

Updated on Rollie Sheldon. I found a website dedicated to the Pilots history; The Sorianos (future Pilots owners) bought the Seattle Angels in 1967 from the California Angels. Sheldon was purchased conditionally from Indianapolis, July 24, 1968, and became a Seattle Angel. Sheldon was at the Pilots Spring trainging in 1969.

Apr. 4, 2017 - 5:46PM

1971 Topps Bob Garibaldi.  Pictured with Royals, never played for Royals

1973 Topps Jose Arcia.  Shown with Royals, never played for them.

Apr. 4, 2017 - 5:50PM

1969 Topps #394 Pilots Rookies (Lou Piniella/Marv Staehle) - neither played in a regular season game or the Pilots

1969 Topps #71 Steve Whitaker - never played for the Royals

Apr. 4, 2017 - 9:42PM

trauty - Thanks for the tips. I'll go investigate and put them on here ASAP.

Apr. 17, 2017 - 12:05PM

1992 Bowman #11 Trevor Hoffman with the Cincinnati Reds

(I don't know if you allow Bowman on the list)

Apr. 18, 2017 - 9:35AM

I especially like the players in the actual uniforms.  Another one is 1977 O-Pee-Chee John Lowenstein with the Blue Jays.

Apr. 20, 2017 - 7:14PM

I'll take any brand. Thanks again for the suggestions. I learned something additional during the research on this - I never realized that Trevor and Glenn Hoffman are brothers. I guess because of the great difference in age.

Apr. 20, 2017 - 10:56PM

Here's some Phillies I know of:

1952 Topps Con Dempsey

1954 Topps Mike Sandlock

1955 Topps Lou Ortiz 

1955 Topps Tom Casagrande

1971 Topps Wayne Redmond

1973 Topps Tom Haller

1974 Topps Traded Aurelio Monteagudo

1979 & 1981 Topps Jim Wright

2003 Topps Traded Aaron Myette

2008 Topps Tim Lahey

May. 16, 2017 - 10:39PM

Thanks to tcc25 for the 10 players (11 cards!). I learned a lot from researching those.

May. 19, 2017 - 6:11AM

A couple Detroit Tigers cards...

1978 Topps #536 Roric Harrison - Played at AAA for the Tigers in 1977, released in spring training of 1978.  

1990 Score #626 Pat Austin - Spent four seasons in the Tigers minor league system, never made the big club.

1996 Upper Deck #333 Phil Plantier - Signed as free agent in December 1995, traded in spring training 1996.

LOTS of early-mid 90s Bowman cards and several 2002 Topps Traded & Rookie cards, the year they loaded the set with hundreds of "prospects".

Dec. 21, 2017 - 6:47PM

I'll get you some Cardinals names when I get my stuff back together.  Several of them in the 70s. I actually sort out my Cardinals Uniform/never played there  cards away from my legit Cardinals collection.

Dec. 21, 2017 - 6:58PM

From 1972 Topps, 353 Art Shamsky and 645 Jim Maloney didn't play for STL.

Dec. 21, 2017 - 10:05PM

From 1969 Topps, 341 Dave Adlesh.  I like the fact that he only played for the Astros, but got traded four times after his major league career was over.

Dec. 22, 2017 - 1:54PM

1970 Topps Ted Kubiak, #688, Seattle Pilots.  Photo taken spring training 1970 but then moved and played as the Milwaukee Brewers during the regular season.

Dec. 22, 2017 - 5:56PM

Kubiak did play for the franchise, as they moved just barely before the 1970 season started. They played their Spring Training games, and the equipment trucks sat awaiting word whether to go to Seattle or to Milwaukee to start the season! So, I'm going to say he did play for who the Pilots became. Anyone who was traded to the "Pilots" after the 1969 season, before the 1970 season started, and played for Milwaukee would have played for the team they were traded to. But thanks, I learned a little more about the move because of your comment, so thank you!

Mar. 19, 2018 - 3:33PM

1971 Topps #83 Tim Foli / Randy Bobb. Randy Bobb never played for the Mets. He's one of the most elusive autographs to get for 1969 Cubs collectors. He played 7 games for the '68 Cubs and 3 for the '69 Cubs, was traded to the Mets for J.C. Martin and only appeared as a Met in spring training, never a MLB game. He died as the result of a ruptured aorta from a car accident in 1982 at age 34. I have almost nothing signed by Randy Bobb. A spring training photo with the Mets, a single 3x5 card and he's on a team signed 1968 Cubs ball. It's amazing what the Baseball Hall of Fame has though. I looked through some of their files when I visited and the Randy Bobb file has an actual death certificate.

Mar. 19, 2018 - 3:49PM

I see the 1969 Lou Piniella card on the list here. That's the 3rd of 3 cards that show him as a rookie. There is a 1964 Senators card Topps #167, 1968 Indians Topps #16 and finally the 1969 Pilots Topps #394. Although Lou did play 6 games for the Indians in 1968, he didn't ever play for the Pilots or the Senators. The craziest fact is that after having 3 rookie cards, each from a different team, he was named the 1969 AL Rookie of the Year for yet a 4th team, the Kansas City Royals. Go figure.

Mar. 20, 2018 - 3:33PM

Thanks to Lerxst2112 for the tip about Randy Bobb. Sad to hear about his death.

Mar. 20, 2018 - 5:28PM

Are you using guys who never made the majors at all, from multi-player RCs, or just guys who made it but with a different team than his card?  Harry Saferight from 1980 Pirates Future Stars never played in the majors for anyone.  Not sure if he fits the list.

Mar. 20, 2018 - 5:52PM

David - perfect! Thanks.

Mar. 20, 2018 - 6:17PM
Mar. 21, 2018 - 2:05AM

Yamid Haad 2008 Topps Update.  Spent a few days on the Indians active roster but never got in a game.  Additionally, Tim Lahey (whose 2008 Topps you already have listed) spent opening day on the Phillies roster but didn't get into the game - it's believed he even received a World Series ring.

Tim Gradoville (2007 Topps 52) spent a few days on the active roster of the Phillies in 2006 but didn't get into a game (coincidentally, he did get a 2008 Phillies World Series ring since he was their bullpen catcher).

Mar. 21, 2018 - 2:10AM

Also, Saferight was another guy who actually made it to the Majors but never got into a game.  He was on deck on 2 different occasions but the guy batting in front of him made the last out.

Mar. 21, 2018 - 2:34AM

  Also, a lot of guys on this list would qualify here:

Mar. 21, 2018 - 6:39AM

trauty - thanks - you actually bring up a good point. These guys as phantom major leaguers would be the outliers in this list. And by that I'm debating whether to exclude them or not. I'm thinking they are definitely a subset of this list and should get a * by their name, so to speak. These guys are very much different that say the Jim Wright's who never even got the call. So, by that, I'm actually considering removing Saferight from the list as he was on the Pirates roster (and not just the 40 man). He got the call. I will have to see who else was already on the list. Thank you for showing me that list on baseball reference. I'm there a lot, and I knew they had a lot of cool and unusual lists, but this is one I missed. Thanks!

Mar. 21, 2018 - 8:11AM

I like the list as actual MLB players. Save the "Never had their Cup of Coffee" players for another list.

Here's one: Brad Ausmus, drafted on 17 Nov 92 by Colorado in the expansion draft; played on their AAA team until traded to San Diego on 26 July 93

Mar. 21, 2018 - 9:30AM

Benji Gil, traded by the Texas Rangers to the Chicago White Sox on 19 Dec 97, only played in their AAA club before being drafted by the Florida Marlins in the minor league draft on 14 Dec 98.

Mar. 21, 2018 - 10:07AM

C2Cigars - thank you - added. And I'll definitely consider splitting the list into 2. That's a great idea.

Mar. 21, 2018 - 12:04PM

Lou Piniella should have the distinction of actually making the list twice. He has a 1964 Senators card Topps #167. Drafted by the Senators in 1962 and shipped off to the Orioles in 1964 without ever playing for the Senators in the majors.

Mar. 21, 2018 - 9:15PM

Elvio Jimenez, never played for the Pirates; played in only one MLB game, 4 October 1964 with the NY Yankees

Bill Schlesinger, never played for the Cubs; played in only one MLB game, 4 May 1965 with the Boston Red Sox

Zak Shinall never played for the Dodgers; played in only one MLB game, 12 May 1993 with the Seattle Mariners

Mar. 21, 2018 - 9:19PM

2008 Upper Deck #630 Mark Prior.  Shown with Padres, never healthy enough to play for them.

2006 Topps #113 Bobby Madritsch.  Pictured with Royals.  Due to injury, never pitched for them.

Mar. 21, 2018 - 10:10PM
Mar. 22, 2018 - 10:25PM

1969 Topps Stamps Hoyt Wilhelm.  Listed as a Kansas City Royal.  Never played for them (he was drafted by them in the Expansion draft).

Mar. 23, 2018 - 10:18PM

Never played for the Reds, he was claimed off waivers by the Indians on January 26th, 2017.

Mar. 24, 2018 - 9:26PM

Thanks trauty and fedoratipper for those 2.

Apr. 9, 2018 - 5:45PM

Jesse Crain (2014, Astros) comes to mind

Apr. 17, 2018 - 10:35AM

also De Aza (2017, Athletics) would work.

Jul. 12, 2018 - 9:37PM

2018 Topps Series 2 #547 Travis Wood.

On January 29, 2018, Wood signed a minor league contract with the Detroit Tigers. The Tigers released him on March 8.

His card is an obvious airbrush of his 2018 Topps Padres team set card.

Jul. 22, 2018 - 2:17PM

Thanks DarkSide and Dan for the additions. I find it amazing that they still miss the mark on so many players these days.

Jul. 22, 2018 - 7:18PM

Never played for the Mariners as he underwent Tommy John Surgery. His 2018 Topps card brings that up.

Jul. 23, 2018 - 10:05AM

Thanks again fedoratipper. And, sorry, but I seemed to have missed several that were suggested on May 21. Thanks to Chuck (twice), trauty, and Lerxst. I have added them now.

I have to honest, when I started this list, I figured it would max out at about 20-30 cards. I am amazed how many players appeared on cards as members of teams they never actually played for.

Jul. 23, 2018 - 4:00PM

Ryan Madson has some cards for the Reds. 2012 Topps Base Set and 2012 Heritage I believe. The Reds signed him to a one year deal and he got hurt in Spring Training and never pitched for the Reds.

Jul. 24, 2018 - 9:12AM

Thanks for that addition, ToddFather - that actually turned into 2, as Madson also was with the Angels and Topps apparently just had to get him on a card, even though he pitched only 1 inning at Class A Advanced in 2013.

Aug. 18, 2018 - 9:34AM
Jack Webster

1967 Topps Don Dennis

Traded to White Sox on 12/14/66.

Played his last major league game 3 months before.


Sep. 14, 2018 - 3:24PM

For some reason I thought I saw a Dave Concepcion as an Angel during the 1989 Spring Training card floating around.  There is a fantasy card on the net, and some "Man from Topps" Spring Training shots, but I could have sworn there was one.  I guess no real physical one, but that would have been a great addition, 

Ditto some fantasy cards of the Yankees Vida Blue and Red Sox Rollie Fingers and Joe Rudi I've seen over the years.


Sep. 14, 2018 - 3:57PM

Here is a never corrected error card from one of the massive "every player to ever play for us" SGA sets.

Mets did employ Bob Gibson as their pitching coach during the waning years of Joe Torre's Managerial career, but he certaintly never pitched for them, and for one game in 1987!

Oddly the Bob Gibson the card was meant to be featured on this card, a member of the early 1980s Brewers' pitching staff, is one of the biggest "White Whales" for a Met history site that has been tracking down photos, mostly headshots, of every Met for its pages.

I suppose it could have been worse, the photo could have been the legendary wrestler, and recent WWE Hall of Famer, Robert Gibson! =;)

Sep. 14, 2018 - 4:12PM

A Topps "Card That Never Was" Photoshop special for the Jackie Robinson to the Giants trade that was terminated when Jackie announced his retirement.

Sep. 14, 2018 - 9:27PM

Thanks for the ideas, Steve, however, I'm going to call the Gibson one a wrong photo and the Jackie one a gimmick card (any card in a trade that never was type set is not eligible).

Jack - that one works. Thanks.

Sep. 25, 2018 - 8:15PM
Sep. 26, 2018 - 6:19AM

Charlie Ward, New York Yankees.  IMO, more a gimmick card.  Ward was only drafted by the Yankees but chose to play in the NBA.

Sep. 26, 2018 - 7:41PM

fedoratipper - thanks - added.

C2C - thanks, but yes, gimmick, like Lindros, not added.

Oct. 7, 2018 - 9:38PM

Along the lines of me Mandela-ing a Davey Concepcion as an Angel card, Robbie Alomar in a Rays uni.  Signs in Janurary of 2005, and retires in March.

Oct. 8, 2018 - 8:14PM

You know, I'm kind of surprised the Flood card can be gotten for reasonably common prices.  You'd think the historic nature of it literally showing the reason for the end of the reserve clause and the dawning of free agency would give it a bit of a bump in terms of market value.

Oct. 9, 2018 - 3:57PM

Thanks, Steve, for the Alomar. I forget what I paid for my Flood card for my Phillies collection, but I doubt it was more than $2.

Oct. 29, 2018 - 9:24PM

Scott Kazmir never played for the Braves. He was released on March 24th 2018.

Oct. 31, 2018 - 8:10PM

Hat tip to fedoratipper - LOL. Thanks for the Kazmir. It also alerted me to a very bad typo in the stat lines, and I added that as an UER to the card here in the database.

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