Published: Sun, May 28, 2017
Economy | By Melissa Porter

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

Bunning's son, U.S. District Judge David Bunning tweeted that "Heaven got its No 1 starter today". "Elaine and I offer our honest condolences to Mary and the entire Bunning family". Bunning, a conservative Republican, served on the local city council and in the Kentucky state Senate before he launched a failed campaign for governor in 1983.

Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first ideal game in modern National League history.

Bunning, then with the Philadelphia Phillies, had earlier thrown a 1958 no-hitter while pitching for the Detroit Tigers - making him one of the few hurlers with no-hit games in both leagues.

Bunning decided not to run for re-election in the 2010 race, instead endorsing tea party favorite and current U.S. Sen.

The gritty right-hander pitched 17 years in the majors, earning eight All-Star nods, and served 12 years as a USA senator from his native Kentucky. In addition to throwing no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues, he was also the second pitcher after Cy Young to win 100 games and pitch 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues, according to the Hall of Fame. Jim Bunning, R-Ky. speaks on Capitol Hill in Washington. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

After his playing career, Bunning turned to politics and became the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress. His tenure in the Senate was marked by his contentious relationship with fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, as reported by Time in 2009. "This Hall of Famer will long be remembered for many things, including a ideal game, a larger-than-life personality, a passion for Kentucky, and a loving family".

Bunning, a nine-time All-Star, pitched for the Detroit Tigers, Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers over a 17-year career from 1955 to 1971.

His career highlights included a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1958 and a flawless game for the Phillies in 1964.

The following year, Bunning, who played baseball during an era marked by low wages and an open devotion to the game, introduced a bill to crack down on performance-enhancing drugs in pro sports.

In 1998, Bunning was elected to the Senate, taking the seat of the retiring Democratic Sen.

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