Jim Bunning, the Hall of Fame pitcher who later became a U.S Representative and Senator from KY, died today at the age of 85.
Bunning went 224-184 in his career with the Tigers (1955-1963), Phillies (1964-1968), Pirates & Dodgers (1969) and back with the Phillies 1970 & 1971.
He threw a no-hitter while with the Tigers, and a perfect game while with the Phillies.
He never reached the postseason but came close. The 1961 Tigers won 101 games, but finished 8 games behind the Yankees.
In 1964, his Phillies team had a 6 1/2 game lead with 12 games to play, but lost 10 in a row before winning the last two, too late to save their pennant. They finished tied with the Reds, one game behind the Cardinals. Many blamed and still blame manager Gene Mauch for overusing Bunning and fellow pitcher Chris Short down the stretch.
Bunning was a 9x All Star in 7 different years (there were two All-Star games 1958-1962) who led the league in wins with 20 in 1957, the only year he won 20. He finished 9th in MVP voting that year. He won 19 four times, in 1962 (21st in MVP voting), 1964-1966.
He started the first game for the Phillies at Veterans Stadium in 1971.
He finished 24th in MVP voting in 1960, despite going 11-14, but with an ERA of 2.79.
He finished 13th in MVP voting in 1964, when he had his perfect game against the Mets on Father’s Day of that year.
In 1967, he finished 22nd for MVP, and was runnerup for the CYA (won by Mike McCormick of the Giants). Despite a 17-15 record, his ERA was 2.29.
His 162 g. average was 14-11, 3.27, ERA+ 115. 32 starts, 4 relief appearances.
He struck out 2855 batters, and led the league three times.
As a hitter, Bunning hit .167 with 7 HR.
In 1988, he missed HOF induction by four votes. He was named by the Veteran’s Committee to the HOF in 1996.
His uniform #14 was retired by the Phillies.
After retirement, he served as a Republican Representative in the House of Representatives, representing Kentucky, from 1987-1999 and then as a Senator from Kentucky from 1999-2011.