By Bruce Levine–
GLENDALE, Ariz. (CBS) — Don’t be surprised if all 24 teammates from the 2005 champion Chicago White Sox show up at 35th and Bill Veeck Dr. for Mark Buehrle Day at Guaranteed Rate Field on June 24.
That will be the day the White Sox recognize Buehrle by retiring his No. 56 jersey, making him just the 12th player in franchise history to receive such an honor.
The easygoing Buehrle was a fan favorite and iconic in so many ways during his 12 years in Chicago.
“Mark Buehrle is one of the most accomplished pitchers in franchise history,” White Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. “Mark carried himself with class and professionalism throughout his career. His popularity with the staff, teammates and fans is well deserved. It is our honor to retire No. 56 and to welcome him into the legendary class of all-time White Sox greats.”
Buehrle threw a perfect game and a no-hit performance in his White Sox tenure. He was 161-119 with Chicago and sported a 3.83 ERA. With a sinker/slider combo, he induced soft contact and ground ball outs continuously.
“He was a guy who did not rely on velocity,” pitching coach Don Cooper said. “Every one in every sport is enamored by velocity. He was the opposite of that. He did it first with location and second with movement. I saw him do it in his prime throwing 88-91. He taught me a lot. He taught me what equipment a left-handed pitcher needs to be successful. That came in handy for me with Chris Sale, Jose Quintana and Carlos Rodon. For him to throw 200 innings all of those years in a row, you have to be a stud.”
Buehrle was known as the perfect getaway day pitcher, as games he started almost always were completed in two-and-a-half hours or less.
“Totally efficient,” Cooper said. “He was not only a steady performer but a steady guy. He shook off maybe eight times in 10 years. That tells you he has total confidence and belief in what he is doing. These days, every time one of our pitchers gets to his 56th pitch on the scoreboard, I think of him.”
Teammates and coaches alike loved the affable Buehrle, a Missouri native.
“He is one of my favorite people,” said Ozzie Guillen, his former manager. “That is saying a lot. He was the best teammate ever. Everyone loved him, everyone.”
Buerhle finished his career in 2015 with Toronto. He had signed a five-year deal with Miami in 2012.
Bruce Levine covers the Cubs and White Sox for 670 The Score and CBSChicago.com. Follow him on Twitter @MLBBruceLevine.