The White Sox are set to retire Mark Buehrle’s #56 jersey this summer, the team announced. As Dan Hayes of CSN Chicago notes on Twitter, that would appear to suggest the the lefty himself is also hanging up his spikes for good — though there’s been no official word to that effect as of yet.
Last we heard, around this time last spring, Buehrle was still pondering his future. But he decided against pitching in 2016, and we’ve heard no indication since that he was planning a return. Today’s news seemingly confirms that the famously fast-working and incredibly durable southpaw is finished after 16 highly productive seasons in the majors.
Though he ended his career elsewhere, Buehrle spent his first dozen seasons in Chicago. He was a model of consistency there, providing 2,476 2/3 innings of 3.83 ERA ball while averaging 5.1 K/9 and 2.0 BB/9. Despite being taken only in the 38th round of the 1998 draft, Buehrle cracked the majors in 2000, his age-21 season, after just a season and a half in the minors.
Arguably his best season came in 2005 — the club’s World Championship campaign — when he came in fifth in the American League Cy Young voting upon compiling a 3.12 ERA over 236 2/3 frames. That represented the second-straight season in which he led the league in innings and the fourth in a row in which he retired the side at least 230 times. Buehrle had many fine moments in Chicago, among them a no-hitter in 2007 and one of just 23 perfect games ever pitched (on July 23, 2009, against the Rays).
Buehrle departed the White Sox after the 2011 season, joining the Marlins along with a crop of other free agents. After one solid year in Miami, he was dealt to the Blue Jays as part of the blockbuster trade that also shipped veterans Josh Johnson and Jose Reyes (among others) to Toronto. Buehrle was productive til the end, providing the Jays with 604 1/3 innings of 3.78 ERA ball in his final three campaigns.
Even in his age-36 season, which appears now to be his last, Buehrle managed 198 2/3 innings and led qualifying AL pitchers with a 1.5 BB/9 walk rate. That broke a string of 14 consecutive seasons in which the exceedingly durable hurler racked up at least 200 frames.
In the end, Buehrle racked up 51.9 fWAR and 59.2 rWAR over his career. By Fangraphs’ measure, only four other pitchers — Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Randy Johnson, and Roy Oswalt — were as productive over Buehrle’s active seasons, over which he paced all of baseball in total innings. In that span, he received five All-Star nods and picked up four Gold Gloves, while never failing to make at least thirty starts in each of his full MLB seasons.
Assuming this is in fact the end, MLBTR congratulates Buehrle on his excellent career and extends its best wishes to him in his future endeavors.
Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.
Just Another Fan
With MLB pushing the pace of play issue, you would think they’d be trying to get Buehrle back in the game!
He and Cliff Lee pitched a 1:58 game one time
Opening Day of the 05 season, the game Buehrle pitched was 1:59. Buehrle games were quick no matter who the opponent ran out there.
I went to a game with my uncle and dad that ended up being an hour and 39 mins. 2-1 score. Paulie hit 2 solo shots and Buehrle only gave up 2 hits (both to Ichiro).
Yep, great game on a nice Saturday afternoon! Got everything. Ichiro put on a nice show in his prime when arguably the most exciting player in baseball and Sox win a pitchers duel.
You say 2008 instead of 1998 draft
Although it was pretty impressive that “Despite being taken only in the 38th round of the 2008 draft, he cracked the majors in 2000,” 8 years before being drafted.
That would be impressive, indeed.
Having your number retired at good ol’ Guaranteed Rate Field. It just rolls off the tongue.
LOL, although I’m not all that certain having one’s number retired in U.S. Cellular Field (“The Cell”) has a much better “ring” to it. Just saying…
You should update the pic to show this man in his White Sox uniform. Loved him with the jays!
Updated: got appropriate images. All is again right in the world.
I loved watching him pitch. Always composed. I’ll miss him.
and the Mets won’t retire 17! Sad!
He was the man! Also threw a no hitter and a perfect game
I will add mention of those.
I was at the perfect game. One of the coolest things I’ve ever seen. This is well deserved. Congrats Mark.
I was at his next start where he started with five perfect innings and set the then-record for consecutive batters retired. Then he gave up four runs and the Twins won. So got to see someone from the other team set a record without seeing my team lose.
Might be my favorite player just because of his personality and accomplishments over a long time. So many other players appear to have more talent but few produce as consistently.
That’s one of the best things and him. Always a great club house guy and just fun to watch. He also took coaching well and probably over of Coop’s best students.
I remember when the Sox had to make a rule to stop him from using the tarp as a slip and slide during rain delays.
Buehrle also had a positive influence as mentor for many younger White Sox pitchers. Chris Sale adopted his quick pitching pace while observing Buehrle as a member of the White Sox bullpen in 2010 and 2011.
For all practical purposes, Sale replaced Buehrle in the White Sox rotation in 2012. Instead of re-signing a soon to be 33-year old Buehrle as a free agent during the 2011/2012 offseason, the organization elected to extend 26-year old starter John Danks who was nearing free agency himself. Due to their budget “limitations”, the front office faced the choice of re-signing Buehrle or extending Danks, but not both. On December 7, 2011, Buehrle agreed to a 4yrs/$58MM FA contract with the Miami Marlins. Three weeks later, on December 29, Danks inked a 5yrs/$65MM extension which took him through his final arbitration eligible season and his first four years of free agency.
In hindsight, the White Sox should have offered Buehrle one final contract to finish his career with the club rather than extending Danks, who suffered a severe shoulder injury in 2012 and never resembled his former self for the duration of the deal.
Seems just a tad early to be retiring guys jersey numbers before we know for sure the players themselves have really even retired…
That said, cant take issue with the Palehose thinking his number should be retired. He deserves it
They retired Harold Baines’ number…when he was on another team haha
So what did they do, did they rip the number plaques & banners down when he came back to finish his career with the team?
“That represented the second-straight season in which he led the league in innings and the fourth in a row in which he retired the side at least 230 times.”
The last part of the sentence is a little puzzling… retiring the side is one inning, doing it 230 times would mean he threw at least 230 innings, right?
Correct, led the league in innings pitched twice and eclipsed 230 innings four times.
My mistake. In my mind, I read “retired the side in order.” Maybe that’s why it took me so long to comprehend the sentence! Without in order, my whole question is all for not. Thanks!
“Retired the side” was just another way for the writer to say “innings”. Since he had already used the word “innings” earlier in the same sentence, it looked less redundant to repeat the same word a second time, hence “retired the side” was substituted.
Not to be pedantic, but “retired the side” means slightly more than that. “Retiring the side” 230 times means pitching 230 WHOLE innings, from the first out to the third. “Innings” by itself is a cumulative stat, of course, so someone can get over 230 innings without retiring the side 230 times.
Sorry about being a language geek there; I just wanted to point out that Jeff was saying something more than just finding a synonym for “innings.”
Thus, technically, Jeff is wrong (sorry, Jeff!), as Buehrle did NOT “retire the side” 230 times in 2003.
MB has a unique profile. A perfect game, another no-hitter, a World Series save, hit a home run, once held the record for consecutive batters retired. #56 will always be special to Chisox fans.
As an NL fan, really didn’t know much about him… wow.. what a work horse. Very impressive.
Same here. I’d really never had a good look at his numbers before and my immediate reaction was wondering if he was really good enough to have his number retired. Yes, he absolutely does.
White Sox HOF for sure but probably on the outside looking in for Cooperstown. The same might also apply to Paul Konerko once he is eligible for consideration.
While the White Sox deservedly honor Mark Buehrle, MLB might consider doing the same with it’s desire to improve the pace of its game. Strict enforcement of the 20-second rule for a pitcher to throw a pitch with the bases unoccupied, 12 seconds once he receives the ball on the mound, could become known as the Buehrle Rule.
Congrats, MB. One of the most classy player.
Congrats Mark well deserved.. NOW you think the White Sox will retire a cut up version of Sales #?
Best of luck, Mark! You had a great career and I loved having you play for my Jays. And for what it’s worth, I pitched my best game ever with you; I pitched a one-hit (I remember the hit was to the first batter of the game, too) shutout against the Rangers in MLB 15: The Show.
When was it that he made that behind-the-back toss to get the out at first? Wasn’t it on opening day on year? Anyone have a link to that play?
The mlb account just tweeted it out on Twitter
Probably could have pitched another 10 years and merited serious HOF consideration, but guess he made a decision to spend some time with his family and just take it easy the rest of his life, and I guess that’s a decision we all would make if we had the financial security to do so in our mid 30’s 😛
His “family decision” might have also included his beloved dogs. I recall Mark Buehrle having some issues bringing them across international borders as a member of the Blue Jays. Mark and his wife Jamie are renowned dog lovers and have been passionate advocates for animal rights.
can’t forget when he got a save in the world series while drunk
Just goes to show the depth of the futility of MLB in Chicago. When Mark Buehrle, albeit a good pitcher, represents one of your all-time greats, warranting his number retired, you are REALLY having to reach. Who’s next? Wilbur Wood,
A no-hitter, a WS ring, a perfect game, and 12 seasons in their uniform probably have a lot to do with this. Most teams would be honouring a player with that resume. Adding the “fan favourite” tag seals the deal.
Retiring a number is a big move, though not as serious when the number happens to be #56.
Keep in mind that the pool for Cooperstown is a lot larger than the pool for each individual team.
I am no ChiSox fan, but I say well deserved, Buehrle.
Oh, and set the all-time consecutive batters retired following the perfect game. Stood for about five years.
Consecutive perfect innings pitched
15.1 – Yusmeiro Petit, San Francisco Giants – July 22 through August 28, 2014 (as starting and relief pitcher over 8 games, 1st and 8th games as starting pitcher and 2nd through 7th games as a relief pitcher)
15.0 – Mark Buehrle, Chicago White Sox – July 18 through July 28, 2009 (as starting pitcher, included one perfect game)
So Buehrle still holds the A.L. record and did it over three starts. The perfecto was in the middle on July 23rd. Interestingly enough, Buehrle had another gem going in his next outing against the Twins in Minnesota. He was perfect for 5-2/3 innings before surrendering a walk, single and double in the bottom of the 6th inning.
You must of missed this… “In the end, Buehrle racked up 51.9 fWAR and 59.2 rWAR over his career. By Fangraphs’ measure, only four other pitchers — Roy Halladay, CC Sabathia, Randy Johnson, and Roy Oswalt — were as productive over Buehrle’s active seasons”
That’s not “good” company that’s “Great” company.
Is there any reason they aren’t doing this when Toronto comes to town?
Dookie Howser, MD
Some poor September call up is going to miss out on having a ridiculous number
Hey Jeff, wasn’t Syndergaard part of that trade?
HoF to me.
I remembered hoping Mark’s hometown Cardinals would sign him when he was a free agent after the 2011 season. Alas, the Marlins (of all teams) got him for one campaign, then did the right thing and traded him to a good Blue Jays team. My son’s high school baseball coach actually cut Mark from the team in his sophomore year, and although he pitched his junior and senior years, Mark was never that dominating in H.S. He went to Jefferson College, and didn’t exactly set the world on fire, so the scout that recommended the W.S. draft him was very astute! Maybe the Cards can talk him into playing this year, seeing as they have an opening or two.
If the league cares about pace of play, they should ban Mark Buehrle from retiring. He pitched about as quickly as anyone in the game.