Mark Buehrle Day had all the fanfare he never really wanted. Sometimes, though, a celebration needs fanfare regardless.
With Hawk Harrelson leading the parade, Buehrle was joined on the field by family and friends, teammates and trainers, coaches and chairmen. He spoke, briefly but earnestly, about his appreciation and genuine awe about the honor being given to him. For a guy who said time and time again he hates public speaking, he seemed comfortable–if overwhelmed–by his latest chance to perform at Guaranteed Rate Field.
Buehrle’s career is filled with unbelievable fun facts. He was cut by his high school team–twice. He was drafted in the 38th round. He never threw a 95 mph fastball. He threw a complete game in the World Series–and earned a save. He threw over 200 innings in 14 of his 16 big league seasons. The only two in which he failed to throw 200+ were his rookie season (in which he was mostly a reliever) and his final season (where he threw on two-days rest on the final day of the season needing two innings to hit the mark).
Despite a lack of swing-and-miss stuff, Buehrle threw a no-hitter and a perfect game. He logged 27 career complete games–one of them in the 2005 World Series. That championship, he said, was the greatest achievement of his career. It’s an achievement reached by a team, not just one man. A fitting choice for Buehrle.
Once at the podium to speak to fans, Buehrle called up his wife and two children to stand by his side. He acknowledged them all for their help and support through his career. As he moved on to the next part of his speech, the other three Buehrles went to sit back down. “Where are you all going?” Buehlre said. “I didn’t tell you to sit down yet,” he joked.
There they stood, the four of them, as Buehrle wrapped up his thank-yous.
No. 56 was finally unveiled on the facade behind home plate. It’s up there forever, now. Alongside Nellie Fox, Harlod Baines, Luke Appling, Minnie Minoso, Luis Aparicio, Paul Konerko, Ted Lyons, Billy Pierce, Frank Thomas, and Carlton Fisk.
He’ll always be welcome at the park. He’ll come back into the fold sooner or later. Just as soon as he’s had enough time with his family. They haven’t told him to go sit down just yet.