Which is to say quickly, efficiently and from the heart.
Before the White Sox’s 10-2 loss to the Oakland Athletics at Guaranteed Rate Field on Saturday, Buehrle gave a four-plus-minute tribute to the organization with which he spent 12 of his 16 seasons and the fans who supported him.
“It’s an amazing feeling,” said the 38-year-old Buehrle, who was flanked by his wife, two children, mother and father at the 30-minute ceremony. “I really can’t put it into words how I feel. … It’s a special day.”
Buehrle received a four-wheeler and pickup truck among several gifts. His 9-year-old son, Braden, sang the national anthem before his 8-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, threw out the ceremonial first pitch. An oversized “56” was stenciled in the dirt behind second base.
Widely regarded as the greatest White Sox left-hander in the expansion era, Buehrle recorded 161 of his 214 victories in a Chicago uniform. He helped the team win the 2005 World Series.
“I was just surprised and shocked, and emotions hit me,” Buehrle said. “That’s why I had my [sun]glasses on. A couple of guys said, ‘What — are you afraid to start crying?’ I’m like, ‘I’m sure there will be some tears shed out there.’ I was just trying to soak everything in.”
Hall of Famer Frank Thomas and manager Ozzie Guillen were among several former Buehrle teammates in attendance.
“As I look around this stadium, it is just amazing how much these people love you or how many people came out to see you on this great day,” team owner Jerry Reinsdorf said. “In case you weren’t aware of it, we don’t draw 40,000 every day.”
Buehrle is the 11th White Sox player in team history to have his number retired joining Nellie Fox (#2), Harold Baines (#3), Luke Appling (#4), Minnie Minoso (#9), Luis Aparicio (#11), Paul Konerko (#14), Ted Lyons (#16), Billy Pierce (#19), Thomas (#35) and Carlton Fisk (#72). The White Sox along with all other MLB teams has also retired Jackie Robinson’s No. 42.
Known for his machine-like consistency and rapid-fire delivery on the mound, Buehrle thrived on savvy more than stuff. He was a five-time All-Star and four-time Gold Glove winner.
The event took place eight years to the month after Buehrle pitched the third perfect game in franchise history, a 5-0 gem against the Tampa Bay Rays at the ballpark then called U.S. Cellular Field — adding to a no-hitter he pitched in 2007 against the Texas Rangers.
“Buehrle, day in and day out, was the same guy, and that’s what makes him so special,” Guillen said. “His teammates love him.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.