By now you know, Mark Buehrle tossed a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. (Why? Because they let Juan Uribe go!) And while this is truly an august feat, rarer than anything beyond a 100 extra base hit season. This is not a guarantee of immortality.
For there have been 17 perfect games before today, and there's an interesting fact. If you count Mike Witt? There has been as much mediocrity as there has been Immortality who achieved this one shining moment.
Mike Witt finished 117-116 as he is the Mendoza line for perfect mediocrity. Len Barker, Charlie Robertson, Don Larsen, and Lee Richmond all finished under .500 and all had an ERA+ under 100.
And we have the immortal division of Cy Young, Addie Joss, Catfish Hunter, Jim Bunning, and Sandy Koufax. These are hall of famers and these are well-regarded legends of baseball. And what do these ten pitchers have in common?
I thought none of them would begoing to have Mark Buherle join their ranks. Sure, he's one of the two active pitchers who now have hit 27 up and 27 down in nine innings. But does he have a chance to surpass the levels of Dennis Martinez and Kenny Rogers? Absolutely. Is he better than David Cone? In terms of ERA+ Actually yes.
I guess what I'm saying here is, Mark is a very underrated pitcher. He's quietly been great. But are we at a point where we can consider his stuff Hall of Fame? Not yet. He'd need to have seven or eight more years of solid and not try to hang on above and beyond the pale of his career. If Jim Kaat and David Cone were smart enough to quit while they were ahead, maybe there would be stronger consideration to their whole hall of fame divinity.
Final analysis? Buerhle's case is stronger than I originally thought, but he has a long way to go. Perfection helps, but he needs a ring or another 125-150 wins.