As the Chicago White Sox ease into what's expected to be a major rebuilding project, crowds at Guaranteed Rate Field are likely to be on the small side this season.
On June 24, however, the seats are going to be full.
The Sox on Thursday announced they'll retire starting pitcher Mark Buehrle's No. 56 before a June 24 game against the Oakland Athletics.
A popular, productive workhorse starter, Buehrle pitched for the White Sox from 2000-11, and the left-hander was 161-119 with a 3.83 ERA and 27 complete games over his career on the South Side.
"Mark Buehrle is one of the most accomplished pitchers in franchise history," Sox chairman Jerry Reinsdorf said in a statement. "Mark carried himself with class and professionalism throughout his career and his popularity with staff, teammates and Sox fans is very well deserved.
"Although a very humble person, he certainly showed a flair for the dramatic on the mound, from a no-hitter to an unforgettable perfect game to a World Series title. A standout on the field and a standup teammate in the clubhouse, it is our honor to retire Mark Buehrle's No. 56 and to welcome him into the legendary class of all-time White Sox greats."
Buehrle did not pitch last season and officially is retired. His last appearance at Guaranteed Rate Field (formerly U.S. Cellular Field) was July 6, 2015, when he started for the Toronto Blue Jays. As expected, he was well received by the home crowd.
"I'd be lying to say it wasn't getting me a little more amped up than I should have been," Buehrle said after that game. "Running out to the bullpen, they're kind of cheering and coming in. Throughout the game, it was just special. I'd be lying if I said it wasn't. Outstanding feeling."
Buehrle will be the 12th player in White Sox history to have his number retired. Former teammate and close friend Paul Konerko was the most recent Sox player to be honored, on May 23, 2015.
Buehrle and Konerko teamed up to make one of the greatest defensive plays in Sox history.
On April 5, 2010, the White Sox were playing the Cleveland Indians at the Cell on Opening Day and Lou Marson hit a hard grounder up the middle.
Buehrle kicked at the ball, like he frequently did, and it rolled into foul territory in front of first base. Pouncing on the ball with his glove, Buehrle flipped it between his legs with his back toward first base and Konerko made a barehanded catch to retire Marson.
On his lengthy list of accomplishments, Buehrle's perfect game against Tampa Bay at the Cell on July 23, 2009 stands at the top.
The St. Charles, Missouri, native also won both of his starts in the 2005 postseason and saved Game 3 of the World Series.
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