Mark Buehrle deserves to be a Hall of Famer after his illustrious MLB career. His numbers may not jump off the page like a Randy Johnson or Clayton Kershaw, but there is no denying the impact he made during his time in Chicago. It is also hard to overlook his four Gold Gloves, five All-Star selections, and 14 consecutive seasons of throwing 200-plus innings.
Unfortunately, the Baseball Writers of America don’t think so. Buehrle missed out on Cooperstown for the third straight year after receiving just 42 votes (10.8 percent) which put him well short of the 75 percent of votes necessary to be immortalized in Cooperstown. It was still more than the 23 votes he received the previous year but still a surprisingly low number for a pitcher of Buehrle’s caliber.
However, one MLB insider had some strong opinions backing Buehrle. During an appearance on 670 the Score with Oarkins and Speigel, Jon Morosi laid out a pretty convincing case for why the southpaw should be inducted.
“Mark Buehrle, by the way, while not nessarily dominaant as Pedro Martinez or a Max Scherzer. He had 14 straight years of 200 innings or more,” Morosi said. “And White Sox fans understand how important he was to the team during that era, how integral that rotation was to that march to the championship in 2005, and how basically they needed one reliever to get through the ALCS.”
Morosi is correct. Buehrle was a workhorse. In an era where the bullpen’s dominant, having a reliable starter that can throw that many innings year in and year out is a huge luxury. Only a few other pitchers will even sniff 14 seasons of 200 or more innings. In 16 major league seasons (12 with the White Sox), he accumulated over 3,200 innings in his career, leading the league in innings pitched in 2004 and 2005. During that 2005 season, he helped guide the White Sox to their first championship since 1917. During that World Series run, he threw a complete game shutout against the Angles in the ALCS and logged a save in Game 3 of the World Series.
“That was a special rotation. Buehrle was the ace of that group,” Morosi added.
Buehrle was a proven winner. When he decided to hang up his cleats for good, he sported an impressive 214-160 record as a pitcher, good enough for a .572 win percentage. This was no fluke either. The St. Charles, Missouri native ranked 65th all-time in WAR for Pitchers and finished in the top ten in that category on six occasions. His command was unmatched. Even in his final season, he still ranked in the 97th percentile in walk rate.
The pace that he pitched at kept the games short and his defenses engaged, which also helps explain why he was so good for so long despite not having overpowering stuff. Buehrle’s All-Star selections are spread out, showing how consistent he was throughout his career. He made it in 2002, 2005, 2006,2009, and 2014 as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays, just one year before his retirement.
These feats do not even factor in all the iconic moments that he had. Buehrle is one of few pitchers to record a no-hitter and a perfect game. He has some dazzling defensive plays, including his between-the-legs flip on Opening Day, a start and a save in the 2005 World Series and a home run on his resume.
If that isn’t enough he also doesn’t have the asterisk of PEDs surrounding him. Buehrle played the game the right way and was a genuinely nice guy, which seemed to be why Barry Bonds and Curt Schilling were left out of the Hall of Fame while David Ortiz got the call to Cooperstown.
“You think about the perfect game, the no-hitter, starting an All-Star Game,” Morosi said. “When you look at the abject shortage of pitchers in the game now, who throw 200 innings, Mark Buehrle looks better and better as time goes on.”