Ex-Senate staffer: Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has died

Ex-Senate staffer: Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has died

Jim Bunning, the Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and former Congressman that spent six seasons in the Phillies pinstripes, passed away at the age of 85 following a stroke suffered last October.

Bunning's success in baseball carried over into politics, as the Kentucky Republican served stints on a city council and in the state Senate before a almost quarter-century career in Congress.

In 2009, he said he would not seek another term in the Senate; his fellow Kentuckian, then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, "all but pushed Bunning into retirement", NPR's David Welna reported at the time.

In his first season with the Phillies, in 1964, Bunning pitched the seventh ideal game in baseball history on Father's Day against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. Bunning gave his farewell speech to the Senate on December 9, 2010, and was succeeded by current Senator Rand Paul on January 3, 2011.

Bunning also served 12 years in the US House. The only Hall of Famer ever elected to Congress, he was a staunch conservative whose outspoken style aroused some controversy during his later years in the Senate, Bunning chose not to run for re-election in 2010. But the most memorable moment of that illustrious time was a flawless game on Father's Day, June 21, 1964 against the New York Mets.

He belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a flawless game in the modern era. Bunning went 20-8 with Detroit in 1957, his only 20-win season, but won 19 games four times, showing his consistency.

Bunning also represented the Phillies in two All-Star Games (1964 and 1966).

He was 85 years old. He was selected to the Hall of Fame by the Veterans Committee in 1996. As a major league pitcher from 1955 to 1971, he played for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Before being elected to Congress, Bunning worked as an investment broker and agent and served in the Kentucky state Senate.



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