By Bruce Levine —
CHICAGO (CBS) — Staying in character is what a humble man from St. Charles, Mo., is all about. On Saturday, White Sox icon Mark Buehrle had his jersey retired at Guaranteed Rate Field, which was called U.S Cellular Field when he played there.
“This was an amazing day and an amazing feeling,” Buehrle said after his pregame ceremony was completed. “You really can’t put into words how you feel. I wasn’t as nervous as I thought I would be when I got up there. I am glad it is over with, but it was obviously a special day.”
Two trucks and a few artifacts from the past, including the ball that DeWayne Wise caught to save his perfect game in 2009, were presented to Buehrle. The ovation by 38,000 fans in attendance meant as much to Buehrle as any of the gifts.
“It was always about the great fans of the Chicago White Sox,” he said.
With his wife, Jamie, and children, Braden and Brooklyn, in tow, the 37-year-old Buehrle thanked everyone in the crowd. The on-field guests included family, past teammates, clubhouse personnel and training staff personnel.
Buehrle paid homage to the clubhouse staff because, to him, those members were equally as important as owner Jerry Reinsdorf and the White Sox brass. That was the essence of Buehrle, a man of the people.
“Those people were a big part of my life,” Buehrle said. “Those guys took care of me and my family for all of those years. It was everyone — coaches, scouts, players. They were all a part of my life, and helped me get to where I was.”
The future for Buehrle consists of watching his kids grow up, fishing, hunting and playing first base for his beer league softball team.
This author of 214 major league victories never took any of it for granted. Everyday, including this day his No. 56 was retired, is special to him.
“Frank Thomas and Jim Thome are sitting behind me, and they are retiring my number,” he said. “It all doesn’t make sense to me. After seeing the number show up there, I had a lot of emotions. I started to breathe deep and started to tear up. I was just trying to keep my emotions together. Looking up there and seeing that — I just can’t put those emotions into words.”
Buehrle’s kids were a big part of the show. Braden sang the national anthem and Brooklyn threw out the first pitch, both of which made dad proud.
“That was so awesome,” Buehrle said. “I was more nervous for me than for them, but I was confident in them.”
“No regrets” is easy for Buehrle to say after such a memorable day. Like all ballplayers, he had his bad moments.
“I had some games and performances where I thought I would never be good again,” he said. “I also had times where I was booed off the field and thought I would pack up and go home to St Louis. There were some down times. I just tried to stay even-keeled.”
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.