Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who pitched six seasons with the Phillies and went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.
Bunning's death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning's family.
Bunning won 224 games in a 17-year major-league career and pitched the first perfect game in modern National League history. It came with the Phillies on June 21, 1964. He also became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.
In the Senate, his ornery nature forced Republican leaders to push him to retire after two terms.
The Kentucky Republican also served 12 years in the U.S. House. He was a staunchly conservative voice in the Senate and a fierce protector of state interests such as tobacco, coal and military bases. He did not seek re-election in 2010.
The only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress, Bunning was the second pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in the American and National Leagues. He also belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era.
“Jim was an incredible competitor and was determined to maximize his ability and make the most of everything he did in life,” said Phillies Chairman, David Montgomery. “He clearly succeeded in doing so. Jim and his wife Mary remained close members of the Phillies family, attending our Alumni Weekend festivities whenever they were able to be in Philadelphia. We were so honored to have had Jim and Mary here for what would be his last Alumni Weekend in 2016. The Bunning family has lost a very special patriarch, and we at the Phillies have lost a very special friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the entire family at this difficult time.”
Bunning is survived by his wife of 65 years, Mary, nine children and 35 grandchildren.
Visitation for Bunning will be held at Muehlenkamp-Erschell Funeral Home in Fort Thomas, Kentucky on Friday, June 2 from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m. Mass of Christian burial will be on Saturday, June 3 at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington, Kentucky.