Best By Number, Baseball 56, 55
Numbers are everywhere in sports, in fact, one may argue there is nothing quite as memorable as a number. A movie about Dale Earnhardt was simply titled “3“ and every sports fan can recognize the symbolism behind number 755 even if it doesn’t have the same titled as the past. Athletes’ numbers on their backs are as much a part of themselves as the name’s arching above and no one can escape the number they wear or wore. Kobe will always be #8 even when he’s #24 and no one can recall that Ken Griffey Junior was #3 during his final year in Cincinnati. I have researched the best players in each sports to wear most of the numbers from 0-99. This is the list for Major League Baseball.
Buehrle has never finished higher than fifth in any Cy Young voting…and that 2005 season is the only year Buehrle has received a vote for the award. So, how does this White Sox legend earn the right to being the finest to don the meanest number in Professional sports? Well, this Mister Nice-Guy might not have the legendary status of a Lawrence Taylor, but he does have a World Series ring and perfect game while sporting fifty-six. Buehrle’s career ERA is a modest 3.84; however, he anchored the 2005 World Champion White Sox in his fifth place year. Perhaps Buehrle’s best feature is his durability. He’s never made less than 30 starts in a season and has tossed 200+ each year as well. He may benefit from a weak field of 56 in Baseball lore; however, Mark Buehrle is one of the game’s most dependable options on the mound…he ain’t nothin’ if no dependable.
At least his parents had the decency to avoid an “A” for the third letter in his name, but this unfortunately phallic branded pitcher is quite possibly the finest without a plaque in Cooperstown and owns one of Baseball’s more unbreakable records: 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched in 1988. That year–1988, I mean–he won the National League Cy Young and tossed for 267.0 innings; a number thought imaginary by today’s pitchers. The 1988 World Series? Yes, the Dodgers won it and yes the Bulldog was MVP of that particular Fall Classic. We can expect him never to be enshrined unless his broadcasting career becomes legend wait for it…….dary. You can catch him on ESPN and he routinely works the Little League World Series. So we’re not expecting H.O.F. status coming from broadcasting.