Toronto Blue Jays LHP Mark Buehrle turns 36 today. The former Burlington Bees hurler is a workhorse, having pitched over 200 innings in each of the last 14 seasons.
Buehrle’s 200-inning streak began in 2001, the year after he made his major-league debut with the Chicago White Sox, and two years after he pitched in the Midwest League. He is a five-time All-Star, a four-time Gold Glove winner, and finished fifth in the American League Cy Young Award vote in 2005.
Buehrle went 7-4 with a 4.10 ERA, 91 strikeouts and 16 walks in 98.2 IP for the 1999 Burlington Bees. He started 14 of the 20 games he appeared in, pitched a shutout, and earned three saves. He was a mainstay of that Bees team, which won the Midwest League championship title.
Some notes about the 1999 Midwest League season:
Rick Renteria, who managed the Chicago Cubs last year, was skipper of the Kane County Cougars and was named the Midwest League Manager of the Year. Buehrle’s Bees team knocked the Cougars out of the postseason in the second round of the playoffs.
Corey Patterson, who played 12 years in the major leagues, was the Midwest League Prospect of the Year. He batted .320 with 20 HR, 79 RBI and 33 SB in 112 games with the Lansing Lugnuts.
Aaron McNeal was the Midwest League MVP after batting .310 with 38 HR and 131 RBI (!) in 133 games with the Michigan Battle Cats. It was his age-21 season and his second year in the Midwest League. (He batted .284 with 14 HR and 61 RBI in 112 games with the 1998 Quad City River Bandits.) He never made it to the big leagues.