Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle should be inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2021. His WAR, no-hitters, and wins make him a great candidate.
This year in 2020, Larry Walker and Derek Jeter will be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Walker was in his last year on the ballot and Jeter was an obvious selection. For 2021, however, there aren’t a lot of obvious choices. Curt Schilling seems likely to make it as he reached 70% of the vote last year (you need 75), but beyond that, no one else may be elected. The other player elected should be former Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle.
Of all the players entering the Hall of Fame ballot for the first time in 2021, Buehrle leads them all with a 59.2 WAR. He also has four gold gloves, is a five-time all-star, and pitched a no-hitter and a perfect game, to go along with his 214 career wins. That should be a Hall of Fame resume.
Buehrle’s 59.2 WAR is good enough for a hall-of-fame pitcher. It’s is a higher WAR than Mariano River’s 56 (although he is a reliever), who was a unanimous selection. It’s also way higher than recent inductee Jack Morris (43 WAR). Buehrle also has a better ERA (3.81) than Jack Morris (3.90) as well.
Buehrle’s 59.2 WAR ranks exactly 200th all time. While WAR isn’t a perfect stat, it is the best stat to rank an aggregate of a player’s performance, and someone who is in the top 200 players of all-time should be in the Hall of Fame given that they already have 333 members in.
Buehrle’s 214 wins are not a mind-blowing number but it is still very good and in the same vicinity of Curt Schilling’s 216 wins. It’s not to say that Buehrle is better than Schilling, but Buehrle is one of the next-best options. Buehrle ranks 11th in WAR amongst everyone on the 2021 ballot, but five of those players (Andy Pettitte, Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens, Gary Sheffield, and Manny Ramirez) used PED’s and no admitted PED user has ever been elected to the hall of fame. Buehrle is second in WAR amongst the clean pitchers, behind Schilling.
Where Buehrle really stands out, is the fact that he pitched a no-hitter AND a perfect game. Of the 7 pitchers to do this, 6 are in the hall of fame. The seventh is Mark Buehrle. This should put him in the Hall of Fame.
We also can’t forget that he anchored the pitching staff of the 2005 World Series Champion Chicago White Sox. Given how dependent the team was on pitching, they wouldn’t have won without him. They certainly would not have won without both Buehrle and Paul Konerko, so at least one of those guys should be in the Hall and it’s not going to be Konerko after he fell off the ballot last year.
Everyone who voted for Konerko last year will probably also vote for Buehrle, plus a few pro-stat voters will vote for him based on WAR. He shouldn’t just get the needed five percent to stay on, he should be elected in 2021. There is no reason he should have to wait.