In MLB history, there have been many pitchers come and go. Some pitch for a generation, while some only get a cup of coffee. Most pitchers end up somewhere in the middle, with varying levels of success. The elite end up being enshrined in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown. Membership in the Hall is limited to those few who truly belong in such an elite club.
MLB History: Hall-Of-Fame Pitchers
As of 2001, there are a total of 83 pitchers who have been inducted into the Hall of Fame. This is a staggeringly low number when one considers how many pitchers have come and gone in MLB over the years. The latest pitchers inducted into the Hall were Roy Halladay, Mike Mussina, Mariano Rivera, and Lee Smith, all inducted in 2019. Two of them were starters Halladay and Mussina), while the other two were closers.
Other pitchers inducted in the last 10 years include Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, and John Smoltz (2015), Greg Maddux and Tom Glavine (2014), and Bert Blyleven (2011). These are all illustrious names, all of whom were, in fact, among the very best in MLB history. That much is indisputable.
Where Does Mark Buehrle Fit With The Greats?
While there are just 83 pitchers in the Hall of Fame, there have been just as many, if not more, pitchers who have had stellar careers. Pitchers who have had sustained success for a period of years. whether they are relievers or starters. These pitchers have certainly earned some recognition, even if they were not considered to be Hall of Fame worthy. They deserve a place in MLB history.
Mark Buehrle is surely one of the pitchers who deserve recognition for having had a solid career. The lefty, who spent most of his career with the Chicago White Sox, put together a remarkable career, considering that he did not possess an overpowering fastball. Yet, he still managed to compile solid numbers in his own way. His career is worth another look.
Mark Buehrle: Mr. Durability
Buehrle pitched a total of 16 MLB seasons, with the White Sox, Marlins, and Blue Jays. Pretty amazing for a guy who was drafted in the 38th round of the 1998 draft. His first 12 seasons were with the White Sox, ending in 2011. He left Chicago to join the Marlins in 2012, and moved on to Toronto, where he pitched his last three seasons.
In his 16 MLB seasons, Buehrle appeared in 518 games, 493 of those starts. After his rookie season, he became a full-time starter with the White Sox. From 2001 through 2015, Buehrle made at least 30 starts every season. In addition, he pitched at 200 innings 14 seasons in a row. In his final season, he narrowly missed the 200 inning mark, pitching 198 and 2/3 innings. An amazing feat, one that is unlikely to be matched again in MLB history.
Mark Buehrle: The Record
Mark Buehrle was absolutely one of the most durable pitchers of his era or any era. He took the ball whenever his turn came up and pitched a lot of innings. After his rookie season, Buehrle averaged over 6.5 innings per start. That number would surely stand out in today’s game with its five-and-fly mentality. Yet, Buehrle was about much more than durability.
Mark Buehrle compiled a won-loss record of 214-160 with an ERA of 3.81. While that ERA will not put him among the elite in MLB history, it is solid considering the era in which he pitched. Taken in context, for fans who like “quality starts,” the minimum quality start equates to an ERA of 4.50. Using this metric, Buehrle had a quality ERA. Again, it not earth-shattering, but solid, nonetheless.
Buehrle averaged 14 wins a season over a 15 year span. He never won less than 10 games as a starter. While he was not a big strikeout pitcher, his K.BB ratio was 2.55, while his BB/9 ratio was a solid 2.0. He threw 33 complete games, including 10 shutouts. In 2001, his first full season, he led the AL with a WHIP of 1.066.
Buehrle’s finest season was in 2005, when he went 16-8, with a career-low ERA of 3.12. He also had a career best K/BB rate of 3.73. He went to his first All-Star game and finished fifth in the CY Young balloting. He helped lead the Sox to the World Series championship.
In addition, Mark Buehrle won four Gold Gloves and went to five All-Star games. Sox fans remember a play he made on Opening Day of 2010, a play that aired on ESPN every night throughout the season. They will also remember his no-hitter in 2007, and his perfect game in 2009. They might also remember his record streak of retiring 45 consecutive batters over two games.
MLB History: Mark Buehrle and The Hall Of Very Good
There is no doubt that Mark Buehrle had an outstanding MLB career. It may not have been among the very best in MLB history, but Buehrle amassed a solid collection of statistics and accomplishments. His career will be forever etched into the memories of White Sox fans everywhere. in 2021, his first year on the ballot, Buehrle received 11% of Hall of Fame ballots cast. It seems unlikely that he will ever be enshrined in Cooperstown. That is still up for debate, however, in the “Hall of Very Good,” Mark Buehrle takes a backseat to nobody. By any measure, he was a solid, reliable pitcher who would have been successful in any era.
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