The White Sox announced today that they will retire Mark Buehrle’s number 56 before the game on June 24th this season. Buehrle will become the 11th White Sox player to have his number retired by the club.
Buehrle was always a fan favorite on the south side and along with Paul Konerko, were the core of the team throughout the first decade of the 2000’s, one of the most successful periods in team history. In fact, Buehrle and Konerko are the only two players to appear in three different post-seasons with the Pale Hose.
Mark Buehrle was drafted by the White Sox in the 38th round of the 1998 draft. He would make his major league debut in July of 2000 and would be a mainstay in the Sox rotation for the next 11 years. Over his 12 seasons with the Sox Buehrle amassed a record of 161-119 (.575) with a 3.83 ERA. We won at least 10 games and tossed at least 200 innings every single year he was in the Sox rotation, and continued the feat for a total of 14 seasons before coming up four outs short in 2015.
Buehrle was named an All-Star four times while a member of the White Sox and started the 2005 game, picking up the win for the American League. He tossed five total innings in the mid-summer classic during his career, allowing just one run.
Not only solid on the mound, Buehrle also was one of the game’s best fielding pitchers. He won three straight Gold Glove’s with the Sox from 2009-2011. Who can forget his between the legs play on Opening Day in 2010?
Buehrle’s name is all over the White Sox career leaderboards for pitchers. Here is where he ranks amongst Sox pitchers all-time:
Games: 390 (8th)
Starts: 365 (4th)
Innings: 2,476.2 (7th)
Wins: 161 (6th)
Strikeouts: 1,396 (4th)
WAR for pitchers: 49.0 (7th)
In the history of the White Sox franchise, Mark Buehrle ranks ninth in total WAR, ahead of Hall of Famers Nellie Fox, Luis Aparicio, Carlton Fisk, Ray Schalk, and should be Hall of Famer Minnie Minoso.
Of course Buehrle’s most memorable White Sox achievement might be his perfect game on July 23rd, 2009. It was the 18th perfect game in MLB history, and the first for the White Sox since Charlie Robertson in 1922. It was also the second no-hitter for Mark Buehrle, who no-hit the Rangers back in April of 2007.
In his next start, Buehrle would go 5.2 innings before allowing a baserunner, and set the record for consecutive batters retired with 45 in a row. (The mark was later topped by Yusmeiro Petit in 2014).
Mark Buehrle may not have been an all-time great player, but he was a very good player for a long time with the White Sox. He and Konerko were the faces of the organization for more than a decade, and it only makes sense that they both end up with their numbers retired and statues on the concourse.
It is also a sensible time for the Sox to honor one of their all-time fan favorites, as the next few years will be spent looking for the next faces of the Sox franchise. So while Sox fans are fighting through the rebuild, they can at least re-live some of their favorite moments of the past this year.