Is Buehrle a Hall of Famer? Not according to Buehrle

January 9th, 2024

This story was excerpted from Scott Merkin’s White Sox Beat newsletter. To read the full newsletter, click here. And subscribe to get it regularly in your inbox.

CHICAGO --  doesn’t possess a Hall of Fame vote.

I don’t either, although I’m in my 22nd season covering the White Sox and it will be arriving soon.

If the left-hander who so adeptly pitched 16 seasons for the White Sox, Marlins and Blue Jays had a vote, he still wouldn’t cast it for himself. 

“No, I think there’s zero chance I’ll make it, and I don’t think I’m worthy and I [didn't do] enough in the game to be in the Hall of Fame,” Buehrle told me during our extended conversation this past Friday. “It would be awesome to get 20 votes or whatever it is I need to stay on [the ballot].

“That would be cool. But if this is the year I get 10 votes and I’m off, hell, I was on for four years, and you can’t ask for anything better.”

Buehrle’s first ballot appearance came in 2021 when he received 44 votes and 11 percent of the vote. That total dipped to 23 votes and 5.8 percent in ’22 and rose back up to 42 votes and 10.8 percent in ’23, keeping him above that 5 percent threshold. Buehrle is an interesting case in that the durability and workload he fastened with great success is no longer produced by starting pitchers.

From 2001-14, Buehrle hurled at least 200 innings, made at least 30 starts and finished with double-digit victories. In 2015 with the Blue Jays, marking Buehrle’s final year, he threw 198 2/3 innings, or his aforementioned streak would have reached 15 straight years. Buehrle also tossed a no-hitter against the Rangers in ’07 and a perfect game against the Rays in ‘09, to go with five All-Star appearances, four Gold Gloves, 214 victories and even a home run as a hitter.

“Honestly, I think the only thing that would be Hall of Fame worthy or that’s helping me out is the 200 innings for that long,” Buehrle said. “Making all my starts, never being on the DL, that kind of thing.

“Other numbers, strikeouts, I wasn’t a strikeout pitcher, ERA wasn’t super low. There’s a lot of stuff kind of going against me. People were like, ‘Oh, your perfect game and no-hitter,’ but that’s just two games. You can’t go off two games and say he needs to go in the Hall of Fame.

“It’s an outstanding honor just being on it the first year and getting enough votes for this is my fourth time,” Buehrle added. “Making enough votes to stay on three times, it’s insane to me.”

Chris Sale, who embarks on his first season in Atlanta after 13 with the White Sox (seven) and Red Sox (six), doesn’t consider himself a Hall of Famer at this point, as he said during an entertaining appearance on the Foul Territory podcast Monday. He also pointed to Buehrle and mentioned if the southpaw isn’t in the Hall of Fame, then there’s no way he could be because Buehrle is ahead of him.

Sale knows first-hand of Buehrle’s immense value, as he mentored Sale in 2010-11 with the White Sox. Both left-handers would be at the top of the list for greatest pitchers in White Sox history, and both point to their respective World Series titles -- Buehrle in ’05 with the White Sox, Sale in ’18 with the Red Sox -- as far more important than any individual honor.

“Oh, yeah. Winning the World Series, that’s the ultimate goal,” Buehrle said. “Personal highlights, Gold Gloves, that’s been awesome. Running out after Game 4 and celebrating, that was the best feeling.”