213 voters

MLB Players Whose Careers Ended Too Soon

Updated December 19, 2019 2.7k votes 213 voters 1.9k views25 items

List RulesVote up the athletes you wish had played longer.

The history of MLB players whose careers ended too soon has featured incredible talents having their time in the spotlight end faster than expected. Whether because they died or suffered terrible injuries or simply retired, these players were out of the league well before their time. Iconic stars like Roberto Clemente, Sandy Koufax and Kirby Puckett all saw their careers end in abrupt fashions.

All the top short baseball careers will be featured with details regarding what caused their time to end so quickly. Each player clearly made a mark during his short stint playing at the highest level. Compare all the talents to find out which ones are the best. 

Vote up for the MLB players whose careers ended early who could have even stronger legacies today if the timing worked out differently. Help us decide which MLB players whose careers ended early you most would have wanted to see have a longer run of greatness on the field.

  • MLB career years: 1923-1939
    Teams: New York Yankees

    The legendary career of Gehrig ended faster than expected when he was diagnosed with ALS. Gehrig had a few years of dominance left that were robbed from him.

    Gone too soon?

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  • MLB career years: 1955–1972
    Teams: Pittsburgh Pirates

    The end of Clemente's career came in heartbreaking fashion when his plane crashed into the ocean. Clemente died when flying to Nicaragua to provide supplies following an earthquake.

    Gone too soon?
  • MLB career years: 1955–1966
    Teams: Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers

    The retirement of Koufax came at the young age of 30 due to severe arthritis in his left elbow preventing him from pitching at a high level.

    Gone too soon?

    More Sandy Koufax 

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  • MLB career years: 1969–1979
    Teams: New York Yankees

    Munson died during the prime of his career due to a plane crash. The passing at 32 would see the Yankees continue to honor his legacy for the contributions during his time in the sport.

    Gone too soon?

    More Thurman Munson 

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