Mark Buehrle: The Most Underrated Pitcher in Baseball

Sam FogelgarenCorrespondent IJuly 25, 2009

CHICAGO, IL - JULY 23: Pitcher Mark Buehrle #56 of the Chicago White Sox reacts in celebration after pitching a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays at U.S. Cellular Field on July 23, 2009 in Chicago, Illinois. The White Sox defeated the Rays 5-0, as Buehrle became the 18th pitcher in 132 years of major league baseball to throw a perfect game. (Photo by Scott Boehm/Getty Images)

For a man who turned 30 just four months ago, Mark Buehrle has done more with his career than most 30 year olds have done. He's a four time all-star, won a world series and thrown a no-hitter. And let's not forget the perfect game he hurled just a few days ago.

In 10 major league seasons, Buehrle has four all-star game appearances. In 23 seasons, Jamie Moyer has just one.

Buehrle has won a world series. Gaylord Perry, who had 314 wins in a hall of fame career, never won a world series.

Buehrle has thrown a no-hitter and a perfect game. Buehrle joins Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Jim Bunning, Randy Johnson and Cy Young as the only pitchers in the history of baseball to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game.

It's also safe to say that Buehrle is the only player ever to get a call from the President of the United States after a perfect game: I doubt Sandy Koufax got a call from Lyndon Johnson after his perfect game.

From all of this information, we can assume that Buehrle, who owns a career winning percentage of .596, is one of the elite pitchers in the game today. While this is true, not enough people know about him, or better yet, know how good he really is.

Guys like Randy Johnson, C.C. Sabathia, Roy Halladay and Johan Santana have dominated the 21st century. Buherle's name is never mentioned with the greats of this era, which also includes guys like Greg Maddux, John Smoltz, Tom Glavine and Roger Clemens.

In his nine seasons as a starter, Buehrle has topped an ERA of four only twice. In 2006, he posted an ERA of 4.99 ERA in 2006, which was a career high. The other season was 2003, in which his ERA was 4.14.

Buehrle is freakishly consistent, as we can see. He's posted at least 10 wins each of the last nine seasons, has never had an ERA of over five, and has never given up more than 61 walks in a season, all for a guy who has led the league in innings pitched twice, in 2004 and 2005. And assuming he doesn't get hurt the rest of this season, he will have made at least 30 starts in every season since 2001. Now that's freakishly consistent.

Buehrle led the league in innings pitched in 2004 and 2005, as mentioned above. In 2005, Buehrle threw a remarkable 236 and two thirds innings. The most amazing part of this? He walked just 41 batters. Consider that Matt Clement with the Red Sox in 2006 walked 38 batters, just three less than Buehrle, in 65 and one thirds innings, nearly four times less than the amount of innings that Buehrle pitched.

Mark has done many things that some of the greatest pitchers in baseball have ever done. Some of his accomplishments feature his name on elite lists with guys like Sandy Koufax, Randy Johnson and Cy Young. And I can say with confidence that he is the only guy to receive a call from the acting president after a perfect game, but it would a good idea to give the Schwab a call just to be sure.

And besides the on field success, you don't see Buehrle making a TV show to try to get attention. Buehrle plays baseball, gets his job done, and doesn't worry about being the most famous guy out there. It's guys like Buehrle who should get more credit for doing their job right.

So the next time you hear TO making an episode of his TV show about dropping a game winning touchdown from Trent Edwards, remember how Mark Buehrle forced no extra hoopla for that magnificent perfect game.

And by keeping his mouth shut, Buehrle has done better than TO. Owens gets nationwide criticism and Buehrle gets a call from the president. What would you rather have?