You can’t say enough about the things Mark Buehrle has done for this franchise.
On The Field
– Career record: 132-90
– Since 2001, he has pitched more than 200 innings and won at least 10 games every year
– 4 All-Star game selections (1 start)
– Started Game 2 of the 2005 World Series (which the Sox won) and got the save in the wild Game 3 which went 14 innings
– 2007 no-hitter against Texas (one walk to Sosa was the only blemish. Sosa was then picked off and Buehrle still faced the minimum)
– Hit his first career home run this year in Milwaukee
– And now, a PERFECT GAME
Mark Buehrle’s style is something that makes this accomplishment even more special. For years, baseball “analysts” speculated he would never pitch a no-hitter. They would give him the benefit of the doubt for being a great pitcher, but said he’d never do it since his stuff is not overpowering and he’s a guy who relies on things like location and his defense. Never say never because Mark has made all those people look foolish.
Mark is also a great defender and says one of his goals is to win the Gold Glove. Besides that, 20 wins (he had 19 in 2002) and the Cy Young, there isn’t much left for Mark to achieve. That’s saying a lot for a guy who really flies under the radar considering what he has accomplished.
Off the Field
The best part of Buehrle’s success is that he’s a great guy. He has fun with the game and appreciates the fans. He is as close as an athlete can get to being a regular guy. He is very modest and humble. From spending times with the fans to sliding on the tarp during rain delays, Mark is one of the good guys in this game. Just like in his 2007 no-hitter, Buehrle spent most of the game talking to his teammates in the dugout, jokingly asking them “did you know I’ve got a no-hitter going on?”. His teammates love him for his personality, but also appreciate his traits on the field. The defense must love playing behind one of the quickest workers in baseball. Mark appreciates the White Sox and showed his loyalty by taking a favorable deal a couple years ago. He could’ve been traded at the time, gone on to make a lot more money, and pitched for teams like Boston (who were rumored to be the favorites to land Buehrle in a possible trade), but he took less and accepted an extension in Chicago.
There have been a lot of fun facts coming out from the game today.
– The Sox offense today? 5 runs on 6 hits. That 5-6-0 looks just as special as the Rays’ line on the box score (A great job by Josh Fields today to take advantage of his start)
– The umpire, Eric Cooper, also called Buehrle’s last no-hitter. The real ironic part? Cooper’s number is 56, the same as Buehrle.
– Dewayne Wise, who had the amazing game saving catch, was a member of the 2004 Atlanta Braves. That is the team that Randy Johnson threw a perfect game against. I can’t say enough about Wise (and by the way, Wise robbed Gabe Kapler. Last year Chris Young had a perfect game in the 8th inning until Kapler hit a home run). I have given him and the Sox a beating regarding their decision to keep Wise on the major league team, but I will gladly eat crow today. Does history change if Wise was sent down this week when Quentin came back? The ground that Wise covered, the timing, holding on to the bobble, the circumstances…WHAT A CATCH
– The fact that it was done against the Tampa Bay Rays makes it even more impressive. The defending A.L. champs currently have the 3rd best batting average and 2nd best on-base percentage in the A.L.
– 1st place! This win put the Sox in a tie for first place with the Detroit Tigers. The Sox now go to Detroit for a huge 4 game series, including a double-header tomorrow.
And I will finish this post with a cool little story Mark told after the game. Mark and A.J. Pierzynski have a running joke about personal catchers whenever someone else catches Buehrle. Today it was Ramon Castro (who actually caught Buehrle for the first time ever. Castro was acquired from the Mets this year. I guess there’s another fun little connection, since the Mets have never had a no-hitter in their history). Before the game, Mark and A.J. were joking with each other about it, and had a conversation that went something like this:
A.J: Come on, you never go deep into games anymore, you’ve got your own catcher, throw a complete game
Mark: I don’t know, I think I’ve past the point where I can finish my own game (something the Sox post-game crew joked with Buehrle about on July 2nd in KC. Buehrle pitched into the 9th but had to be pulled for Jenks to close the game)
A.J: Come on…just go out there and throw a no-hitter
Mark: But I’ve already got one of those
A.J: Alright, then throw a perfect game…
CONGRATULATIONS MARK BUEHRLE