Friday, July 24, 2009

Card Spotlight: 7-24-09

2002 Diamond Kings #81 – Mark Buehrle

Anyone that watched the White Sox game on Thursday was lucky enough to catch a rare event. Anyone that saw the game in person has a story to tell their grandchildren. Some people have only heard about these games. Others have only seen the replays on television. It is a special treat to witness a perfect game. Mark Buehrle made this wish come true.

I wasn’t at the game, but I saw it live through the magic of television. I was lucky enough to be at Monday’s game. The White Sox were still winners in a thrilling fashion, but it didn’t come close to Thursday’s spectacular win.

There are a few facts that I have picked up throughout the broadcast and aftermath of Buehrle’s perfect gem.

- Steve Stone had never witnessed a no-hitter in all his years in baseball.
- There have only been 18 perfect games in Major League history.
- 17 of those were during the regular season.
- Buehrle became the sixth player to throw a perfect game and a no-hitter.
- Those other five? Cy Young, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Sandy Koufax, and Randy Johnson.
- Of those five, only Randy Johnson is not in the Hall of Fame.
- Why? Because Randy Johnson is still playing.
- Only Mark Buehrle, Cy Young and Sandy Koufax faced a minimum 27 batters in their perfect game and again in another no-hitter.
- This was Ramon Castro’s first time catching Buehrle. Ever.
- Before the game, regular catcher, A.J. Pierzynski, told Mark to throw a no-hitter during the game. Mark replied that he’d already done that. A.J. told him to throw a perfect game instead. Mark told A.J. that he just might.
- No, I’m not making that up.
- Umpire Eric Cooper was behind home plate for Buehrle’s perfect game in 2009 and his no-hitter in 2007.
- Eric’s umpire number is 56, the same as Buehrle’s uniform number.

I’m sure there are many more weird facts and statistics to pour through, but those are the ones that immediately jump out. This marks the first time since 1922 that a White Sox pitcher threw a perfect game. Considering that there are only eighteen perfect games, I’d say that’s a pretty decent ratio.

Mark Buehrle has always been one of my favorites on the White Sox. It helps that he is usually Mr. Consistency. You know exactly what you’re getting when he steps onto the mound. Even so, Mark has surprised me time and time again. Just when I think Buehrle has reached his plateau, he finds a way to climb higher.

Mark is one of the rare pitchers that I don’t have to worry about. I don’t spend my time praying that he will pitch a good game. I know he will give it his all without looking like he’s giving it his all. I did a mid-season report on the state of the White Sox in 2009. I went through each position and picked out the positives and negatives of most players. I tried to predict how each would fare in the second half. For Mark Buehrle I simply wrote, “Buehrle is Buehrle”.

Mark’s name may fade from the spotlight as the season goes on. It usually does. As other players accomplish other fantastic feats, Mark will become just another name in the book of 2009. The sad truth is that the White Sox don’t get a lot of glory from the media. They don’t get the respect from the fans and even some players. Mark Buehrle is the best pitcher that most people have never heard of before. If Buehrle keeps on pitching at his own pace, in his own way, people will eventually stand up and notice.

This perfect game is another step in that direction. Chicago’s best secret is about to explode onto the scene, but not in a way you’d expect. Players like Gordon Beckham will get the hype and deservedly so. Mark Buehrle will get quiet admiration and respect. In a way, that’s the perfect compliment for a man like Mark Buehrle. He does his job without complaint or incident. He parades himself on the mound with little fanfare and the coolness of Clint Eastwood’s “Man with No Name”. Buehrle truly is a Diamond King.

10 comments:

Brian said...

Mark Buehrle has been so steady..I hope he doesn't retire in two years like he's hinted at doing. Congrats to him and the White Sox nation.

night owl said...

What was the game-time for this game?

Buehrle works so quickly, and perfect games are probably the shortest games, in terms of time, that there are. Combine the two, and it couldn't have lasted very long.

White Sox Cards said...

Game time was 2:03. The exact number of hours and minutes as his previous no-hitter. I think Buehrle was actually on the mound for a grand total of 32 minutes.

Collective Troll said...

Hats off to you guys! From the first batter he faced Buehrle was on fire. I missed the game earlier, but they replay them at 2:00 am and it just ended. Normally they edit games on the late night replay for time, but this one went the whole 2 hours. As with all no nos, there were some stellar defensive plays behind him. The list of guys with a no no and a perfect game is awesome, as are all the stats and coincidences you pointed out. At the start of game I was thinking, wow Buehrle could get his 11th win today, that would be amazing. He definitely was amazing. Hats off to you guys!

deal said...

Is Buehrle the longest tenured White Sox Player??

White Sox Cards said...

Actually, Konerko would be the longest tenured White Sox player, starting in April 1999.

Buehrle was drafted in June 1998, signed in May 1999 and made his MLB debut in July 2000.

Jabril said...

Hey, Interesting post. I’ve found a number of your other posts intriguing as well and I thought that, since you are interested in blogging, you might want to check out a site called timelines.com.

At timelines.com we’re trying to create a kind of user-generated history by creating events that are then linked together into time lines; no event is too big or too small. Since you are obviously also interested in baseball and the White Sox, you should check out the baseball (http://timelines.com/topics/baseball) and “perfect game” (http://timelines.com/topics/perfect-game) time lines we’re working on.

I’d also encourage you to sign up for the site and start creating your own White Sox, baseball or any other kind of events so that you can link to them from your blog. And you can use excerpts from some of your blog posts in creating the events so that they then link back to your blog, as well.

So, please check out the site when you have some time and let me know what you think. Thank you.

Cardboardsingles said...

Must have been a great feeling to be a White Sox fan watching this unfold. What a great performance by Buehrle! I was only able to catch the last inning of this game since espn tuned in to it live as the sox took the field in the 9th. Boy was I in for a treat, I'm not a huge fan of the White Sox but watching this final inning gave me the chills and I couldn't help but root for the guy. Wise made a terrific play in dead center (one that I didn't think he would make just by watching him track the ball).

I'd like to give a lot of credit also to Alexi Ramirez, I literally stopped breathing for a second as the ball was heading his way. Too his credit he completed the play, although he played it on a rather risky in between hop in my opinion. I was glad he did because that would have been a huge heart breaker and a tough one to get over if he decided to boot it. Many times the hardest plays to make are the easiest plays. I'd love to know what was going through his mind as that ball bounced his way (what pressure!). Overall great job by Buehrle and crew and I'm happy I tuned into espn that afternoon.

White Sox Cards said...

It was definitely a great feeling, when it was over. It was tense and gut-wrenching during the final innings. I can remember watching Buehrle's first no-hitter and thinking that Sosa spoiled a perfect game.

By the seventh inning, even Jermaine Dye was catching every routine fly ball with two hands. If Alexei didn't play it on the in between hop, I don't even want to think what could have happened there. In the end it all worked out and baseball fans got a thrill.

Alan Duda said...

That definitely was an exciting last few innings.

That's also a really nice looking card you've got pictured at the top there!

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