Photo courtesy of the CCIW.
Photo courtesy of the CCIW.

From the Diamond to the Future: Buehrle Graduates

June 5, 2023

People who had a class with Caleb Buehrle quickly learned that he was a baseball player.

He always carried a baseball with him.

When thinking, Buehrle twists the ball around in his hand, just like you might see him do on the mound.

“He was always twisting the ball around, trying out different grips,” said Dr. Scott Lambert, Associate Professor of English and adviser to Millilin’s student newspaper, The Decaturian. “It didn’t mean he wasn’t paying attention, it was just a subconscious thing.

Baseball has always been a part of Buerhle. It’s who he is.

And he’s been exceptionally good at it. Since transferring to Millikin in 2019, Buehrle made quite an impression.

During his career at Millikin, Buehrle won 16 games. He compiled a career 2.95 ERA over 239 innings, striking out a total of 215 batters. He was a 2-time CCIW first team selection and led or tied for team high in strikeouts two straight years.

He was looking forward to his Senior season and hoping to turn his collegiate success into a professional opportunity. But on March 11 against Hope College his professional hopes were jeopardized when he felt a pop in his right elbow. The injury ended his season, but possibly not his career. He has a Covid year of eligibility remaining and he may return next season.

“In March, I had an elbow injury that ended my season kind of abruptly and so, honestly, for a while, I didn’t think I was coming back,” Buehrle said. 

Now that Buehrle has graduated with his bachelor’s degree in communications, he has made the decision to continue his education and get his masters. 

“I really wasn’t planning on coming back next year at all,”Buehrle said. “I was gonna get my degree and play what I thought was gonna be my last year of baseball and then you know, hopefully sign a pro contract. 

“If not, then we go home.”

Buehrle knows it’s a difficult path. Not many Division III pitchers make it to the big leagues. But Buehrle had hopes and a plan.

“Just based on precedent with other pitchers for division three that have signed, independent ball is probably most likely route,” Buehrle said. “I mean, yeah, my goal is still to play professional baseball after this year.”

With a degree in communications, Buehrle has a wide variety of career paths he can choose from. But for now, his eyes remain focused on the mound. 

Beyond baseball though, Buehrle was the Sports Editor for three years at the Decaturian. Throughout the years he has received multiple awards for his writing. At the 2023 Illinois College Press Association Awards Buehrle brought home three awards: 

1st Place Sports Column; “Taking Time to Root for a Family Friend”

2nd Place Sports Column; “My Cousin the Major Leaguer”

Honorable Mention; “Taking Time to Root for a Family Friend”

Prior to coming to Millikin, Buehrle felt as if his teachers had given up on his writing style and techniques since he was an academic writer.  

“I had no clue what I was doing,” he said. “I knew baseball. That’s about it.”

Lambert saw Buehrle’s potential while Buerhle was taking one of his classes in the Spring of 2020. 

“It was me and Dr. Lambert over the years,” Buehrle began. “I’ve taken five or six classes with him. He just kind of helped me refine that and turn me into an actual writer.”

Now that Buehrle has graduated, he wants to thank Lambert. 

“Just a thank you Dr. Lambert, because I’ve been a piece of work maybe more than a few times.” Buehrle said. “But he’s always, always pushed me to write things that maybe I would have written otherwise and I didn’t want to come out of my comfort zone.”

As Buehrle works hard on recovering his elbow, he is hopeful that he will be able to pitch again this spring. Baseball is his true love and comfort, and he will do what it takes to get back where he needs to be.

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