In Memory: Jim Bunning

May 27, 2017

Hall of Fame pitcher and former United States Senator and Congressman Jim Bunning died on Friday, May 26 at the age of 85.

Bunning made his MLB debut with the Detroit Tigers in 1955. His career spanned through 1971 and included stints with Detroit, the Philadephia Phillies, the Pittsburgh Pirates, the Los Angeles Dodgers, and again with the Phillies.

He finished with 3.27 ERA and 224 wins for his career. Bunning would play in nine All-Star games and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996 by the Veterans Committee.

Bunning was the first modern-era pitcher to win 100 games in each league, the first 20th-century pitcher to throw a no-hitter in each league and the second to record 1,000 strikeouts in each league. His career included a 1964 perfect game for the Phillies, and a 1958 no-hitter for the Tigers.

He grew up in Northern Kentucky, Bunning graduated from St. Xavier High School and Xavier University before going on to a major league career as a pitcher.

After Bunning’s baseball career ended he managed in the Minor Leagues and served as an agent before he got into local and national politics. It began in 1977 as a member of Fort Thomas city council, and then the Kentucky State Senate. In 1983, he was the Republican nominee for Governor of Kentucky, losing to Democrat Martha Layne Collins.

Next, he represented Kentucky’s 4th district in the U.S. House of Representatives for six terms from 1987-99. He then represented Kentucky for two terms in the U.S. Senate from 1999-2011. He is only member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame to be elected to Congress.


Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench

Son David Bunning

Grandson Patrick Towles, Former Boston College UK / Quarterback

*Image from Kenton County Library

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