If you were late to your seat at U.S. Cellular Field on April 16, 2005, there’s a good chance you missed the first inning.
And if you lollygagged any more than usual on that gorgeous spring day, you may have missed the first three innings.
You should have known better, because Mark Buehrle was on the mound.
But even Buehrle out-did Buehrle on that day. I remember it well. It was my 19th birthday and I was in section 142 with friends. Buehrle didn’t care that it was 70 degrees out and the type of day you didn’t mind a long baseball game. The beer vendors must have hated it. And unless you’re skilled enough to time your bathroom breaks perfectly to the clock in between innings (hardcore baseball fans know what I’m talking about) then you just had to hold it.
Buehrle dispatched the Seattle Mariners in 99 minutes. The game started at 1:05 p.m. It was over by 2:44. White Sox 2, Mariners 1. Just ridiculous.
The amazing thing was that Buehrle struck out a career-high 12 in the complete-game effort, so it’s not like he did it all on first-pitch groundouts. And Ichiro Suzuki – who hit .409 off Buehrle in his career – managed all three Mariners’ hits in the game, including a ninth inning triple that led to Seattle’s only run.
The White Sox’s offense did its part to make it a quick game, too. Mariners starter Ryan Franklin only allowed four hits and pitched all eight innings, meaning only two pitchers were on the mound all day. The problem for Franklin was that he gave up two solo home runs to Paul Konerko. That’s all Buehrle needed.
I wasn’t in attendance for Buehrle’s perfect game or no-hitter, which is why the 99-minute game will always be my favorite Buehrle start. Konerko’s two home runs help it stand out in the memory bank, too. Most White Sox fans will agree that Buehrle and Konerko are the faces of organization in the 2000s, so to have such a short, simple game decided by the two of them was special.
As he often did, White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen delivered the perfect quote to reporters after the game: “I didn’t have to manage today.”
Unfortunately, because the game didn’t air on what was then CSN, it is not part of NBC Sports Chicago’s “White Sox Rewind,” but you can watch the entire game here. Without commercials, it will only take you an hour and 10 minutes to get through it.
The next White Sox Rewind game on deck is from Apr. 19, 2005 against the Minnesota Twins. Already off to a 9-4 start, the White Sox improved to 3-1 against the Twins with a 5-4 victory on April 18. That game turned out to be important because the two teams were tied for first place and the win allowed the White Sox to keep the wire-to-wire division lead that they kept in 2005.
The pitching matchup the following day was Orlando Hernandez (1-1, 2.75) against Brad Radke (1-2, 5.59). Here’s what Guillen’s lineup looked like:
LF Scott Podsednik
2B Tadahito Iguchi
DH Carl Everett
1B Paul Konerko
RF Timo Perez
CF Aaron Roward
C A.J. Pierzynski
3B Joe Crede
SS Juan Uribe
The White Sox-Twins game from April 19, 2005, will air Monday at 4 p.m. on NBC Sports Chicago. For the full White Sox Rewind schedule from the 2005 season, click here.