Mark Buehrle completed the 18th perfect game in Major League History today, further cementing his place in the record books among the all-time greats who have ever toed the rubber. Before you start thinking that I’m simply ripe with excitement and hyperbole because my favorite pitcher of all-time just threw a perfect game, consider this:
There are now six pitchers in Major League history who have thrown a perfect game and a no-hitter: Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Cy Young, and Jim Bunning. Four are in the Hall of Fame and Randy Johnson will be. Mark Buehrle may not ever get the credit I believe he deserves while he is playing, but if he keeps pitching another 5, 6, 7 years he very well could find himself in Cooperstown as well.
If Buehrle decides not to hang up his cleats early, as he has suggested he will do, he very well could make a legit run at 300 wins. That's assuming he stays as healthy as he has always been.
As amazing as the group above is, it can be narrowed down even further to include only three names: Buehrle, Cy Young, and Koufax. What do these three pitching greats have in common? They share the most amazing combined two-game pitching lines in the history of Major League Baseball.
We know that no pitcher has ever thrown two perfect games, but these three have come the closest. Check out the combined stat line from Mark Buehrle’s perfect game and no-no, and then the combined stat lines from Koufax’s best no-hitter and perfect game and Young’s perfect game and best no-hitter:
- Mark Buehrle: 18 innings, 0 hits, 1 BB
- Sandy Koufax: 18 innings, 0 hits, 1BB
- Cy Young: 18 innings, 0 hits, 1 BB
The only difference is that Koufax had 26 combined Ks over his 18 innings, while Buehrle had 14. I’m not sure about Young, as I couldn’t find the box scores for his no-hitters and perfect games.
Regardless, any time you are in a group of players that includes only you, Sandy Koufax, and Cy Young… you’ve done something pretty special. It’s about time that baseball fans across the country wake up and realize what White Sox fans have known for a long time: Mark Buehrle is the most underrated ace in Major League Baseball. He is truly something special.
Sox fans didn’t need today’s perfect game to confirm this, as we see Buehrle’s consistent excellence on a year in, year out basis. Hopefully today’s performance helps to bring others around to our enlightened point of view.
What a career: clutch ace of a consistent playoff contender; World Series champion; no-hitter; perfect game. Perhaps one of these days Mark will also add a Cy Young Award to the mantle.
Congratulations on a hell of a career to this point Mark, and on authoring one of the 18 greatest single-game pitching stories in the long and storied history of Major League Baseball. “Perfect game” is going to look great on your Cooperstown plaque one of these days.