Really, one no-hitter is amazing. There are plenty of world-class pitchers, pitchers who will one day be in the Hall of Fame, that don't get the distinction of a no-hitter. Mark Buehrle did it in 2007.
Then, two years later, he one-upped himself and became part of a rare, unique fraternity in professional sports: pitchers who have thrown a perfect game. There are fewer than 20 of these men in the history of the game, and even fewer than that are alive. Buehrle's perfect game puts him in a special territory in pro sports, one where skill and preparation and, yes, lightning struck not just once, but twice.
Consider, then, the meaning of Tuesday night's outing: Buehrle could have been forgiven for suffering an extreme letdown. He could have just pitched solid Mark Buehrle baseball. He could have asked to sit out, or something. Instead he took the mound and dealt five more innings of perfect baseball -- 14 in a row. Along the way Buehrle made even more history, breaking teammate Bobby Jenks's record for most consecutive batters retired. The new mark set by Buehrle: 45.
Think about this for a second. Jenks's record, a very impressive feat in and of itself, was accomplished in short daily spurts. Jenks comes in for an inning, retires three straight batters, goes home. Put a few of these games together and bam: record. Buehrle's came as the result of 14 innings of perfect baseball -- no walks, no hits, no nothing, for 45 straight batters. It's mind-blowing. Mark Buehrle faced 45 consecutive major league hitters, the best baseball players in the world, and he didn't walk so much as one of them.
We really don't have much more to add. What can you say? The numbers themselves, the history involved, says it all. Mark Buehrle's had a great career, and though he may never be a Hall of Famer, for one week in 2009, he was the very best pitcher in the world.
Eamonn Brennan is a Chicago-based writer, editor and blogger. You can also read him at Yahoo! Sports, Mouthpiece Sports Blog, and Inside The Hall, or at his personal site, eamonnbrennan.com. Follow him on Twitter.