Never played for...

by vrooomed - 86 cards (Last updated on Jul 14, 2020)


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.

Dec 29, 2018 - 5:05AM
Jack Webster

1969 Topps Dave Giusti.

Never played for the Padres.

October 14, 1968: Drafted by the San Diego Padres from the St. Louis Cardinals as the 3rd pick in the 1968 expansion draft.

December 3, 1968: Traded by the San Diego Padres to the St. Louis Cardinals for Philip Knuckles (minors), Danny BreedenRon Davis and Ed Spiezio.

Dec 29, 2018 - 5:10AM
Jack Webster

1974 Topps Traded Larry Gura.

Never played for the Rangers.

Pitched 7 games for the Rangers AAA Spokane team before being traded to the Yankees.

November 14, 1973: the Chicago Cubs sent Larry Gura to the Texas Rangers to complete an earlier deal made on August 31, 1973

May 7, 1974: Traded by the Texas Rangers with cash to the New York Yankees for Duke Sims.



Dec 29, 2018 - 5:14AM
Jack Webster
Dec 29, 2018 - 5:20AM
Jack Webster

1971 Topps Jerry Robertson.

Never played for te Mets.

March 30, 1971: Traded by the Detroit Tigers to the New York Mets for Dean Chance and Bill Denehy.

Last Game: June 28, 1970 (Age 26-258d) 
   vs. CLE 2.0 IP, 1 H, 0 SO, 0 BB, 0 ER

Dec 29, 2018 - 5:23AM
Jack Webster

1964 Topps Gene Conley.

Never played for the Indians.

April 22, 1964: Signed as a Free Agent with the Cleveland Indians.

Last Game: September 21, 1963 (Age 32-315d) 
   vs. MIN 6.0 IP, 5 H, 2 SO, 2 BB, 2 ER, W

Jan 12, 2019 - 8:51AM

Tom Koehler (LAD) makes the list now. I believe there was another i was thinking of too that has slipped my mind...

Mar 31, 2019 - 6:27AM
Jack Webster

Ray Oyler's 1970 Topps card #630 pictures him with the Athletics.

Ray was traded to the Athletics in December of 1969 and sold to the California Angels in April of 1970 without having played in a game for the Athletics.


Jun 9, 2019 - 7:56AM

Doing some work on a 1988 Dodger list and noticed that despite being listed on the postseason roster on various publications (World Series and NLCS programs listed players inactive due to injuries or sometimes when the home team was in charge of production the road team's roster will be represented by the entire active roster as of the end of the regular season) Mario Soto never played a game for the eventual World Champions!

So, this card, which now looks more like a bullpen/throwing session rather than an early example of Photoshopping Dodger elements over Red elements, can be added:


Last Game: June 16, 1988 (Age 31-340d) 
   vs. HOU 5.0 IP, 6 H, 1 SO, 2 BB, 4 ER, L
June 20, 1988: Released by the Cincinnati Reds.
June 27, 1988: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
November 4, 1988: Granted Free Agency.
December 7, 1988: Signed as a Free Agent with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


Jun 9, 2019 - 10:08AM

I thought I had updated this recently, but my apologies to those who have helped contribute to the list! Jack & Steve, thank you. darkside, I have to figure out which card you're speaking of (no link) and when I do, I'll add it. Thanks!

Jun 10, 2019 - 10:16AM

1977 OPC Leon Hooten released in Spring Training, didn't pitch anywhere after


Jun 24, 2019 - 8:51PM
Jul 3, 2019 - 4:25PM

1970 Topps Jim Gosger Giants #651

Jul 18, 2019 - 3:22PM

sorry for not linking to the Koehler card. My bad! while I'm here, I'd like to add Daniel Nava (PIT, 2018)

Additionally, one may wish to put Ronald Torreyes, Jonny Field, and Francisco Arcia on the watchlist for this year. the former two have Topps series 2 cards with the Twins and Cubs respectively, and the latter has a bowman card with the Cubs. Each has been outrighted without a game for their respective clubs.

Edited on: Jul 18, 2019 - 3:38PM

Jul 18, 2019 - 11:17PM

'93 UD Mike Scioscia - Padres

'95 UD Jack Morris - Reds

My favorite card may not qualify: 93 Fleer Danny Jackson. Team listed is Phillies, photo in a Pirates uni with a "Traded from Marlins" note.


Jul 19, 2019 - 8:09PM

Added all the above mentioned ones. And you are correct volbox, the Jackson does not fit here. Thanks guys!

Aug 13, 2019 - 1:58PM

Never played a major league game for the Yankees and was realesed on June 23rd 1994.

Aug 19, 2019 - 1:13PM

1989 Donruss Jack Savage - Never played for the Mets, and was eventually traded to Minnesota in the Frank Viola trade

1992 O-Pee-Chee Eric Plunk - Listed on the front of the card as 'Now with Blue Jays 12-12-91, but was released before the season's start.

Aug 20, 2019 - 6:33PM

Limited to only 16 innings between AA and AAA in the Dodgers system due to injury and was not promoted back to the Majors until 2017 with Oakland.

Aug 27, 2019 - 11:57AM

Not sure if this one qualifies since it was post-career.  Ray Peters was drafted by the Pilots but played in their minor league system in 1969. 

Sep 21, 2019 - 12:15PM

Edited on: Sep 21, 2019 - 12:17PM

Oct 17, 2019 - 2:42PM

Thomson returned to the Giants during the summer of 1957, after a few years in Milwaukee.  But roughly 10 days before the season began he was traded to Chicago, so he never did play a regular season game for the San Francisco Giants.

Nov 24, 2019 - 10:01AM
May 2, 2020 - 10:22AM
May 4, 2020 - 9:19AM
Jul 14, 2020 - 2:12PM

Got one for you.

2005 Topps Update Carlos Gonzalez. He appears as a Diamonmdback yet he never played for them.

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