The Irrationally Overrated, White Sox Mark Buehrle and tribute videos


Last night the Chicago White Sox welcomed back Mark Buerhle with a tribute video in the first inning of game one in their series versus the Toronto Blue Jays. You can watch it later in this post. As well as the White Sox 2013 opening introduction video. But first we re-publish a magnificent post from former Sport Bank contributor Peter Christian:

Just as there are certainties in life (death, taxes, et al) there are certainties in sports. Some of the more notable certainties are the die hard fans, heartbreak and the euphoric high of winning a championship. Additionally, with every sports franchise comes the list of current and former players who are irrationally overrated.

Mark Buehrle

The inspiration for this post comes from a conversation with a random White Sox fan at a bar near Target Field following a game between the Twins and Sox (the Twins won, of course). Enjoying a beer with Sports Bank CEO, Mr. Banks, we were approached by a duo who were similar to us in that one was a Sox fan (wearing Sox gear, like Banks) and a Twins fan (denoted by his Twins regalia). The Sox fan and Banks lamented over the loss and quickly started complaining about the White Sox’ inability to win against the Twins in recent history.

Then the conversation took a turn that led to an interesting debate (which made this post possible). The young White Sox fan claimed that Mark Buehrle is a Hall of Famer.

I’ll give you a minute to A) read that again and B) contain your laughter.

Ok, so the guy’s argument obviously lacked weight (his reasoning: Buehrle has a no-hitter, a perfect game and a World Series ring. That’s it. For every counter-argument we had, this Sox fan responded with this exact argument and no further case) and I’m not claiming that this one person’s claim is representative of the entire fan base (even Mr. Banks thought that Buehrle’s chances of reaching Cooperstown were less likely than an Eskimo running a marathon in the Sahara), I do think that it is indicative of the fact that every team in the league has a few players that the fan base overrates irrationally.

The reason for overrating could be one of the following: a prolonged term of service, being a crucial part of a championship team, or for doing one thing exceptionally well.

For the White Sox, Mark Buehrle exemplifies all three of those characteristics. He’s was a member of the team for 12 seasons, the opening day starter for 9 seasons, ace of the staff in 2005 when the team won the World Series and he’s known around the league for being a quick worker on the mound, having an array of excellent pick-off moves and eats up innings like a worm eats dirt.

He’s beloved among White Sox nation for sure (for good reason), but he’s nowhere near being a Hall of Fame caliber pitcher.

I don’t mean to pick on this White Sox fan, however. Instead I’m just using him as an example of how certain fans will throw common sense and logic out the window onto the freeway in front of a dump truck traveling at 65 mph when trying to put their favorite player on their favorite team in historical perspective.

Every team has one or two players currently on the roster or recently retired who were in large part considered to be much better by the fan base than they actually are/were.

The Twins have Brad Radke and Michael Cuddyer (Cuddyer is an interesting case as he is a very divisive player in among Twins fans, people either love him or hate him, no in between), the Brewers had Ben Sheets, the Mariners had Edgar Martinez (or Jay Buhner). The Cubs had Ron Santo (and pretty much the entire 1969 team, except for Jenkins, Banks and Williams) The list goes on and on.

Of course, the irrationality doesn’t necessarily stop with the fans. Often times, the player is also given unnecessary money by the team trying to keep them in the same uniform. For example, Buehrle does not have the talent nor skills to be deserving of a $14 million salary, but his status as a fan favorite and continued service to the White Sox has earned him a pay grade of a higher quality player. The same goes for Cuddyer and his $10.5 million salary.

That all being said, it’s not necessarily a bad thing for your team to have one of those players. The players that garner some irrational love will bring people to the stadium and lead people to buy team merchandise. So the inflated contracts aren’t completely wasted money, just part of it.

So, who is your favorite team’s Irrationally Overrated Player?

What other Irrationally Overrated Players on other teams come to mind?

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Comments

  1. Nick Grays says:

    I agree with this article for the most part, but not with Ben Sheets. I’m not sure if it’s fare to say he was overrated as a member of the Brewers, but rather injury prone. When he was healthy, he was ONE of the best pitchers in the league. Just could never string it along for a significant amount of time.

    Yes, Buehrle has a no-hitter and perfect game, but no one has put him in the class as one of the best pitchers in the game. He’s rather a more consistent and reliable pitcher. If Buehrle keeps pitching for a while, he has an outside shot at the hall-of-fame because of longevity and good accumulation of numbers.

    No Brewers fan would ever tell you that Sheets deserves to be in the Hall-of-Fame, but they will tell you he was one of the best pitchers to suit up in Milwaukee which I believe is true when he was healthy.

  2. Carl Rollberg says:

    You forgot to mention Mark’s about the best fielding pitcher in baseball, at least in my lifetime. If the American League didn’t have a DH, he might be a pretty darn good hitter as well. If he gets another no no he should be a shoo in for enshrinement.

  3. paulmbanks says:

    being an innings eater doesn’t get you in the hall, neither does winning a couple gold gloves as a pitcher.

    I just thought of another traditionally overrated- SID BREAM with Braves. early ’90s Atlanta fans think he’s Hank Aaron II

  4. Chi Sean says:

    I cannot believe this article was written for a couple of reasons. 1. You took the opinion of young intoxicated sox fan and wrote an article on it. 2. Another salty Twink fan upset about their fall from grace and stuck in last for years to come writes an article about an arbitrary argument. For whomever stated he never sniffed 20 wins, well that is another arbitrary stat number that’s had no relevance in performance. You can give up 7 runs in 5 innings and your team can score 12 and the pitcher still gets the W. (By the way Buehrle had 19 wins in 2002 so I don’t know how much closer you can get to “sniffing” 20 wins). He has been the model of consistency for 13 years in the power hitting AL. He has a career ERA of 3.82. 4 time all star and 4 time gold glover. His WAR is 48.3 over last 12 years. That’s an avg WAR of 4+ every year for last 12. He has 174 career wins and is a shoe in for 200. Then you start talking how close to 300 he’ll get, which is a guarantee HOF entrance. To dismiss ANY of these stats as being “overrated” is ridiculous. I think you should have written an article about how Joe Mauer bamboozled the state of Minnesota into believing how a singles-hitting catcher is worth $23 mm per year for next 8 years because he is from Minn and girls think he’s cute. Dont forget hell never catch more than 40 games per season in his career. All this for a team w a $75 mm payroll. Booooom

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