Buehrle 'blown away' by having number retired

Buehrle 'blown away' by having number retired

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Mark Buehrle took part in an almost eight-minute conference call Friday morning to discuss the White Sox honoring the left-hander with his No. 56 jersey being retired on June 24 prior to a home game with Oakland.

When apprised of the length of Friday's call, Buehrle laughed and added it's about 7 minutes, 30 seconds longer than his speech will be in June.

"I told my son we get to go out on the field and daddy has to give a speech and he's like, 'What do I get to do?'" Buehrle said. "And I said, 'Sit there and watch.' He said, 'If I'm down there, I'd rather give the speech,' and I'm like, 'Well, have at it.'"

Although he was one of the most quotable players during his 12 years with the White Sox, Buehrle never counted public speaking high among his list of likes or hobbies. He's honored to be the 12th player to have his number retired by the organization, but as White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams pointed out, Buehrle's speech will be the most succinct and direct of any in this category.

"It's hard to wrap your head around," Buehrle said. "Obviously they called me a month or so ago and told me they thought about doing this and I was blown away and floored by it. It's obviously a great honor. It's something you don't really intend to happen or you don't play for that reason.

"You just go out there and play. I had a long, successful career there in Chicago. I just tried to do everything right and that's how I was kind of raised and how I went about it. [White Sox chairman] Jerry [Reinsdorf] is kind enough to come with this offer about retiring my jersey. I really don't know.

"I've been joking around with friends, saying my jersey is going to be up there next to Frank Thomas," Buehrle said. "I grew up watching this guy, it doesn't seem right. It doesn't seem like it belongs up there next to his."

Buehrle has loved being at home in Missouri with his wife, Jamie, his kids, Braden and Brooklyn, and their dogs over the past year during the first stage of a retirement that was never officially announced. The southpaw really made up his mind three years ago and after sneaking in as what he described as an unknown, he wanted to exit in the same way following 214 victories, 493 starts and 33 complete games.

If not for an illness involving one of the family's dogs, Buehrle would have been part of this current White Sox Spring Training for a brief period per Williams' request. Instead, his next reunion with the organization figures to be on this special weekend.

"I'm going to be up there with all those numbers and it doesn't seem right, like that's where I belong," Buehrle said. "I just did what I was supposed to do, had fun with it and lived every day like it was my last."

Scott Merkin has covered the White Sox for MLB.com since 2003. Read his blog, Merk's Works, follow him on Twitter @scottmerkin, on Facebook and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.