Mark Buehrle pitched 12 seasons with the White Sox and 16 in the major leagues. He won a World Series, was a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner and pitched 200 or more innings in 14 consecutive seasons.
A pitcher doesn’t compile a résumé like that without some memorable moments. In honor of Buehrle’s No. 56 being retired Saturday, here are the top moments of his storied career with the Sox, presented chronologically.
April 16, 2005: The 99-minute victory
Buehrle solidified his reputation as a fast worker early in the 2005 season by shutting down the Mariners in a complete-game victory that took only 99 minutes. He gave up one run and three hits, walked one and struck out a season-high 12. Ichiro Suzuki had all three hits for the Mariners.
July 12, 2005: All-Star starter and winner
Roy Halladay’s broken leg made Buehrle the obvious choice to start for Terry Francona’s American League All-Stars. He threw two scoreless innings and struck out three to help the AL to victory, guaranteeing the Sox home-field advantage in the World Series.
Oct. 12, 2005: Complete-game victory in Game 2 of ALCS
The Sox lost their only game of the 2005 postseason in Game 1 of the American League Championship Series, making Buehrle’s Game 2 start a crucial one. He delivered, of course, allowing one run and five hits in a 2-1 victory against the Angels. He needed only 99 pitches to even the series.
Oct. 25, 2005: Tipsy Buehrle saves Game 3 of World Series
After starting Game 2 of the World Series, Buehrle was sure he wouldn’t be needed two nights later for Game 3 in Houston, so he drank a few beers as the game wore on. But manager Ozzie Guillen, having already used eight pitchers, called on Buehrle to close the 14th inning. Despite the alcohol, he got the final out to earn his only career save.
April 16, 2006: Tarp-sliding days are over
Buehrle was a fan favorite during rain delays at U.S. Cellular Field, running onto the field and diving along the tarp to cheer up the crowd. He came on for some tarp-sliding fun during the second rain delay against the Blue Jays, and it ended up being his last rain-delay appearance. General manager Ken Williams feared Buehrle could hurt himself and put an end to the practice.
May 14, 2006: Gives up seven runs in first, earns ‘W’ anyway
In one of the more bizarre outings of Buehrle’s career, he allowed seven runs — one earned — in the first inning against the Twins but still went on to win the game. The Twins scored seven runs on seven hits and two errors but didn’t score the rest of the way in the Sox’ 9-7 victory. Buehrle lasted six innings, allowing 12 hits.
April 18, 2007: His first no-hitter
Buehrle pitched his first no-hitter in a 6-0 victory against the Rangers, striking out eight and yielding a walk to spoil a perfect game. He walked Sammy Sosa with one out in the fifth inning, then picked him off first base to face the minimum number of batters in the game.
June 14, 2009: Hits only big-league home run
The only home run of Buehrle’s 16-year career came in a 5-4 victory against the Brewers. He allowed three homers in the game but hit one of his own in the third inning against Braden Looper. The solo shot to right-center came on an 0-1 count.
July 23, 2009: Buehrle is perfect
Arguably the greatest moment in Buehrle’s career was the perfect game he threw against the Rays on a Thursday afternoon at U.S. Cellular Field. Buehrle struck out six and needed 116 pitches to finish the job. Dewayne Wise came on as a defensive sub in the ninth inning and climbed the wall to make a catch and save the perfect game, the 18th in major-league history.
April 5, 2010: Between-the-legs flip on Opening Day
Indians batter Lou Marson hit a hard grounder in the fifth inning that bounced off Buehrle’s leg toward the first-base line. Buehrle gave chase and flicked the ball between his legs as he tumbled to the ground. Paul Konerko made a bare-handed catch, and the ball beat Marson by a step for the second out of the inning.
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