Piersall in 1953.
|Born: (1929-11-14)November 14, 1929
|Died: June 3, 2017(2017-06-03) (aged 87)
|September 7, 1950, for the Boston Red Sox|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 1, 1967, for the California Angels|
|Runs batted in||591|
|Career highlights and awards|
James Anthony Piersall (November 14, 1929 – June 3, 2017) was an American baseball center fielder who played 17 seasons in Major League Baseball (MLB) for five teams, from 1950 through 1967. Piersall was best known for his well-publicized battle with bipolar disorder that became the subject of the book and movie Fear Strikes Out.
Piersall became a professional baseball player at age 18, signing a contract with the Boston Red Sox in 1948. He reached Major League Baseball in 1950, playing in six games as one of its youngest players.
In 1952, he earned a more substantial role with the Red Sox, frequently referring to himself as “the Waterbury Wizard”, a nickname not well received by teammates.
On June 10, 1953, he set the Red Sox club record for hits in a 9 inning game, with 6.
On May 24, 1952, just before a game against the New York Yankees, Piersall engaged in a fistfight with Yankee infielder Billy Martin. Following the brawl, Piersall briefly scuffled with teammate Mickey McDermott in the Red Sox clubhouse. After several such incidents, including Piersall spanking the four-year-old son of teammate Vern Stephens in the Red Sox clubhouse during a game, he was demoted to the minor league Birmingham Barons on June 28.
In less than three weeks with the Barons, Piersall was ejected on four occasions, the last coming after striking out in the second inning on July 16. Prior to his at-bat, he had acknowledged teammate Milt Bolling‘s home run by spraying a water pistol on home plate. Piersall then moved to the grandstand roof to heckle home plate umpire Neil Strocchia.
Receiving a three-day suspension, Piersall entered treatment three days later at the Westborough State Hospital in Massachusetts. Diagnosed with “nervous exhaustion”, he spent the next seven weeks in the facility and missed the remainder of the season.
Piersall returned to the Red Sox in the 1953 season, finishing ninth in voting for the MVP Award, and remained a fixture in the starting lineup through 1958.
He once stepped up to bat wearing a Beatles wig and playing “air guitar” on his bat, led cheers for himself in the outfield during breaks in play, and “talked” to Babe Ruth behind the center field monuments at Yankee Stadium. In his autobiography, Piersall commented, “Probably the best thing that ever happened to me was going nuts. Who ever heard of Jimmy Piersall, until that happened?”
Later athletic career
Piersall was selected to the American League All-Star team in 1954 and 1956. By the end of the 1956 season, in which he played all 156 games, he posted a league-leading 40 doubles, scored 91 runs, drove in 87, and had a .293 batting average. The following year, he hit 19 home runs and scored 103 runs. He won a Gold Glove Award in 1958.
On December 2, 1958, Piersall was traded to the Cleveland Indians for first baseman Vic Wertz and outfielder Gary Geiger. Piersall was reunited with his former combatant Billy Martin, who also had been acquired by the team.
In a Memorial Day doubleheader at Chicago in 1960, he was ejected in the first game for heckling umpire Larry Napp, then after catching the final out of the second game, whirled around and threw the ball at the White Sox’ scoreboard. He later wore a little league helmet during an at-bat against the Detroit Tigers, and after a series of incidents against the Yankees, Indians team physician Donald Kelly ordered psychiatric treatment on June 26.
After a brief absence, Piersall returned only to earn his sixth ejection of the season on July 23, when he was banished after running back and forth in the outfield while the Red Sox’ Ted Williams was at bat. His subsequent meeting with American League president Joe Cronin and the departure of manager Joe Gordon seemed to settle Piersall down for the remainder of the season.
Piersall came back during the 1961 season, earning a second Gold Glove while also finishing third in the batting race with a .322 average. However, he remained a volatile player, charging the mound after being hit by a Jim Bunning pitch on June 25, then violently hurling his helmet a month later, earning him a $100 fine in each case.
On September 5, Piersall’s 74-year-old father died of a heart attack. Two days after attending the funeral, Piersall returned to play in New York only to be the target of fan abuse. During the September 10 doubleheader at Yankee Stadium, Piersall was accosted on the field by two fans, one of whom he punched before attempting to kick the other.
Despite the minor eruptions, Piersall earned a $2,500 bonus for improved behavior, but was dealt to the Washington Senators on October 5. The outfielder was then sent to the New York Mets on May 23, 1963, for cash and a player to be named later.
In a reserve role with the second-year team, Piersall played briefly under manager Casey Stengel. In the fifth inning of the June 23 game against the Philadelphia Phillies, Piersall hit the 100th home run of his career, off Phillies pitcher Dallas Green. He ran around the bases in the correct order but facing backwards as he made the circuit.
One month after reaching the milestone, Piersall was released by the Mets, but he found employment with the Los Angeles Angels on July 28. He would finish his playing career with them, playing nearly four more years before moving into a front office position on May 8, 1967. In a 17-season career, Piersall was a .272 hitter with 104 home runs and 591 RBIs in 1,734 games.
Career after retirement from baseball
In 1957 he became the subject of a movie based on his writings, Fear Strikes Out, where he was portrayed by Anthony Perkins (directed by Robert Mulligan). Piersall eventually disowned the film due to what he believed were its distortion of the facts, including over-blaming his father for his problems. Besides Fear Strikes Out, Piersall authored The Truth Hurts, in which he details his ouster from the White Sox organization.
Piersall later had broadcasting jobs with the Texas Rangers beginning in 1974 (doing color and play-by-play for televised games) and with the Chicago White Sox from 1977 to 1981, and was teamed with Harry Caray. He ultimately was fired after excessive on-air criticism of team management.
Piersall, who wintered in Arizona, was invited to a White House event honoring the 2004 World Champions Boston Red Sox on March 2, 2005. According to a Red Sox official, the White House prepared a guest list of about 1,000 for the event, scheduled to be staged on the South Lawn. “This is a real thrill for a poor kid from Waterbury, Connecticut“, Piersall said. “I’m a 75 year old man. There aren’t many things left.” He also said he visited the White House once before as guest of President John F. Kennedy.
On September 17, 2010, Jimmy Piersall was inducted into the Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame.
Piersall appeared on The Lucy Show with Lucille Ball and Gale Gordon. The episode originally was broadcast on September 13, 1965. Lucy, Mr. Mooney and Lucy’s son meet Jimmy at Marineland on the Palos Verdes peninsula.
Piersall was married three times. He had nine children with his first wife Mary. They divorced in 1968. He resided in Chicago until his death on June 3, 2017, with his third wife Jan, whom he married in 1982.
|United States Senator
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2011
|Preceded by||Wendell Ford|
|Succeeded by||Rand Paul|
|Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky‘s 4th district
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1999
|Preceded by||Gene Snyder|
|Succeeded by||Ken Lucas|
|Born||James Paul David Bunning
(1931-10-23)October 23, 1931
Southgate, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died||May 26, 2017(2017-05-26) (aged 85)
Southgate, Kentucky, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Mary Theis (m. 1952; his death 2017)|
|Education||Xavier University, Ohio (BA)|
During his baseball career, he pitched in Major League Baseball from 1955 to 1971 for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Los Angeles Dodgers. When Bunning retired, he had the second-highest total of career strikeouts in Major League history; he currently ranks 17th. As a member of the Phillies, Bunning pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history on June 21, 1964, against the New York Mets. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1996.
After retiring from baseball, Bunning returned to his native northern Kentucky and was elected to the city council, then the Kentucky Senate, in which he served as minority leader. In 1986, Bunning was elected to the United States House of Representatives from Kentucky’s 4th congressional district, and served in the House from 1987 to 1999. He was elected to the United States Senate from Kentucky in 1998 and served two terms as the Republican junior U.S. Senator. In July 2009, he announced that he would not run for re-election in 2010. Bunning gave his farewell speech to the Senate on December 9, 2010, and was succeeded by current Senator Rand Paul on January 3, 2011.
- 1 Education and family
- 2 Professional baseball career
- 3 Political career
- 4 Jim Bunning Foundation
- 5 Death
- 6 Electoral history
- 7 Awards
- 8 See also
- 9 References
- 10 Further reading
- 11 External links
Education and family
Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky, the son of Gladys (née Best) and Louis Aloysius Bunning. He graduated from St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati in 1949 and received a bachelor’s degree in economics from Xavier University in 1953.
In 1952, Bunning married Mary Catherine Theis. They had five daughters and four sons. One of Bunning’s sons, David L. Bunning, is a federal judge for the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky, who presided over the Kim Davis case. Another son, Bill, is the head brew master at Ye Olde Brothers Brewery in Navarre, Florida. Jim and Mary Catherine also have thirty-five grandchildren and fourteen great-grandchildren, as of 2013. One of those grandchildren is Patrick Towles, starting quarterback for the University of Kentucky football team.
Professional baseball career
Jim Bunning as a Detroit Tigers rookie in 1955
|Born: (1931-10-23)October 23, 1931
Southgate, Kentucky, U.S.
|Died: May 26, 2017(2017-05-26) (aged 85)
Southgate, Kentucky, U.S.
|July 20, 1955, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 3, 1971, for the Philadelphia Phillies|
|Earned run average||3.27|
|Career highlights and awards|
|Member of the National|
|Baseball Hall of Fame|
Bunning played in Minor League Baseball from 1950 through 1954 and part of the 1955 season, when the Tigers club described him as having “an excellent curve ball, a confusing delivery and a sneaky fast ball”. His first game in the major leagues was on July 20, 1955, with the Detroit Tigers. Bunning pitched his first no-hitter on July 20, 1958, for the Detroit Tigers against the Boston Red Sox. On August 2, 1959, Bunning struck out three batters on nine pitches in the ninth inning of a 5–4 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Bunning became the fifth American League pitcher and the 10th pitcher in Major League history to accomplish the nine-pitch/three-strikeout half-inning.
Bunning pitched for the Detroit Tigers through 1963. During the 1963 Winter Meetings, the Tigers traded Bunning and Gus Triandos to the Philadelphia Phillies for Don Demeter and Jack Hamilton. In his first season with the Phillies, Bunning entered play on June 21 with a 6–2 record on the season. He was opposed on the mound by Tracy Stallard in the first game of a doubleheader. Through the first four innings, Bunning totaled four strikeouts through twelve batters. In the fifth inning, Phillies second baseman Tony Taylor preserved the perfect game with his strong defensive play. A diving catch and a throw from the knees kept Mets catcher Jesse Gonder off the bases. Bunning also had a good day at the plate, hitting a double and driving in two runs in the sixth inning. By the end of the game, even the Mets fans were cheering Bunning’s effort; he had reached a three-ball count on only two batters, and retired shortstop Charley Smith on a pop-out, and pinch-hitters George Altman and John Stephenson on strikeouts, to complete the perfect game.
Bunning, who at the time had seven children, said that his game, pitched on Father’s Day, could not have come at a more appropriate time. He remarked that his slider was his best pitch, “‘just like the no-hitter I pitched for Detroit six years ago'”. Bunning posted the first regular-season perfect game since Charlie Robertson in 1922 (Don Larsen‘s perfect game was in the 1956 World Series). The Phillies also won the second game of the doubleheader, 8–2, behind Rick Wise, who earned his first major league victory in his first start.
Bunning’s perfect game was the first thrown by a National League pitcher in 84 years. It was also the first no-hitter by a Phillies pitcher since Johnny Lush no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas on May 1, 1906. He is one of only seven pitchers to throw both a perfect game and an additional no-hitter, the others being Randy Johnson, Sandy Koufax, Addie Joss, Cy Young, Mark Buehrle, and fellow Phillie Roy Halladay, whose additional no-hitter came in Game 1 of the 2010 National League Division Series. He was also the first of only five players to throw a no-hitter in both leagues, the others being Young, Johnson, Nolan Ryan and Hideo Nomo.
Bunning is remembered for his role in the pennant race of 1964, in which the Phillies held a commanding lead in the National League for most of the season, eventually losing the title to the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Gene Mauch used Bunning and fellow hurler Chris Short heavily down the stretch, and the two became visibly fatigued as September wore on. With a six and a half game lead as late as September 21, they lost 10 games in a row to finish tied for second place.
|Jim Bunning’s number 14 was retired by the Philadelphia Phillies in 2001.|
Bunning pitched for Philadelphia through 1967, when the Phillies began to rebuild. The Phillies traded him to the the Pittsburgh Pirates before the 1968 season for four players, including Woodie Fryman. He pitched for Pittsburgh into the 1969 season, and finished the 1969 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Bunning then returned to the Phillies in 1970 and retired in 1971.
Bunning’s 2,855 career strikeouts put him in second place on the all-time list at the time of his retirement, behind only Walter Johnson. His mark was later surpassed by other pitchers, and he is currently 17th all-time. Despite year in and year out putting up excellent numbers, Bunning rarely led the league in any pitching categories. He never led the league in ERA; the only year he led the league in wins (20, in 1957, with the Detroit Tigers) was the only year he ever won 20 or more games; he did, however, lead the league in strikeouts three times (with 201 in 1959 and 1960, and 253 in 1967). He never won a Cy Young Award; the closest he would come was in 1967, his best year, when at age 35, he came in second behind Mike McCormick. He finished with a middling 17-15 record, but posted a career-best ERA (2.29), and led the league in shutouts (6), games started and innings pitched (40/302.1), and strikeouts (253). It was the only year in his career he earned any Cy Young Award votes. He did, however, win the NL Player of the Month Award June 1964, the month of his perfect game (3-0, 2.20 ERA, 42 SO).
In 1984, Bunning was elected to the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame. In 1996 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame via the Veterans Committee. In 2001, his uniform number, #14, was retired by the Phillies.
Bunning was one of the Senate’s most conservative members, gaining high marks from several conservative interest groups. He was ranked by National Journal as the second-most conservative United States Senator in their March 2007 conservative/liberal rankings, after Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC).
Local and state positions
First elected to office in 1977, Bunning served two years on the city council of Fort Thomas, Kentucky before running for and winning a seat in the Kentucky Senate as a Republican. He was elected minority leader by his Republican colleagues, a rare feat for a freshman legislator.
House of Representatives
In 1986, Bunning won the Republican nomination in Kentucky’s 4th congressional district, based in Kentucky’s share of the Cincinnati metro area, after 10-term incumbent Republican Gene Snyder retired. He won easily in November and was reelected five more times without serious opposition in what was considered the most Republican district in Kentucky. After the Republicans gained control of the House in 1995, Bunning served as chairman of the House Ways and Means Subcommittee on Social Security until 1999.
First Senate term
In 1998, Senate Minority Whip Wendell Ford decided to retire after 24 years in the Senate—the longest term in Kentucky history (later passed by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell). Bunning won the Republican nomination for the seat, and faced fellow Congressman Scotty Baesler, a Democrat from the Lexington-based 6th District, in the general election. Bunning defeated Baesler by just over half a percentage point. The race was very close; Bunning only won by swamping Baesler in the 4th by a margin that Baesler couldn’t make up in the rest of the state (Baesler barely won the 6th).
Bunning was 67 years old when he entered the U.S. Senate.
Among the bills that Bunning sponsored is the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004.
2004 Senate race
Bunning was heavily favored for a second term in 2004 after his expected Democratic opponent, Governor Paul Patton, saw his career implode in a scandal over an extramarital affair, and the Democrats chose Daniel Mongiardo, a relatively unknown physician and state senator from Hazard. Bunning had an estimated $4 million campaign war chest, while Mongiardo had only $600,000. However, due to a number of controversial incidents involving Bunning, the Democrats began increasing financial support to Mongiardo when it became apparent that Bunning’s bizarre behavior was costing him votes, purchasing more than $800,000 worth of additional television airtime on his behalf.
During his reelection bid, controversy erupted when Bunning described Mongiardo as looking “like one of Saddam Hussein‘s sons.” Public pressure compelled him to apologize. Bunning was also criticized for his use of a teleprompter during a televised debate with Mongiardo where Bunning participated via satellite link, refusing to appear in person. Bunning was further criticized for making an unsubstantiated claim that his wife had been attacked by Mongiardo’s supporters, and for calling Mongiardo “limp wristed”. Bunning’s mental health was also questioned during the campaign.
In October 2004 Bunning told reporters “Let me explain something: I don’t watch the national news, and I don’t read the paper. I haven’t done that for the last six weeks. I watch Fox News to get my information.”
The race turned out to be very close, with Mongiardo leading with as many as 80% of the early returns coming in. However, Bunning eventually won by just over one percentage point after the western portion of the state broke heavily for him.
Second Senate term
As was expected in light of Bunning’s previous career as a baseball player, he has been very interested in Congress’s investigation of steroid use in baseball. Bunning was also outspoken on the issue of illegal immigration, taking the position that all illegal immigrants should be deported.
Bunning was also the only member of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to have opposed Ben Bernanke for Chief of the Federal Reserve. He said it was because he had doubts that Bernanke would be any different from Alan Greenspan.
In April 2006, Time magazine called him one of America’s Five Worst Senators. The magazine dubbed him ‘The Underperformer’ for his “lackluster performance”, saying he “shows little interest in policy unless it involves baseball”, and criticized his hostility towards staff and fellow Senators and his “bizarre behavior” during his 2004 campaign.
On December 6, 2006, only Bunning and Rick Santorum voted against the confirmation of Robert Gates as Secretary of Defense, with Bunning saying that “Mr. Gates has repeatedly criticized our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan without providing any viable solutions to the problems our troops currently face. We need a secretary of defense to think forward with solutions and not backward on history we cannot change.”
A September 2009 statewide opinion poll said Bunning had a 35% approval rating, with 55% disapproving of his performance.
In January 2009, Bunning missed more than a week of the start of Congress in January 2009. Bunning said by phone that he was fulfilling “a family commitment six months ago to do certain things, and I’m doing them.” Asked whether he would say where he was, Bunning replied: “No, I’d rather not.”
In February 2009, at the Hardin County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day Dinner, while discussing conservative judges, Bunning predicted that Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg would likely be dead from pancreatic cancer within nine months. Bunning later apologized if he had offended Ginsburg with his remarks and offered his thoughts and prayers to Ginsburg.
Bunning was the only senator to miss the Senate’s historic Christmas Eve 2009 vote on the health care reform bill; he cited family commitments as his reason for missing the vote. The bill passed without any Republican votes, 60–39.
On February 25, 2010, Bunning objected to a proposal of unanimous consent for an extension of unemployment insurance, COBRA, and other federal programs, citing that this extension was not pay-as-you-go. He proposed an amendment which sought to find the funds to pay for the bill from the Stimulus Bill of 2009, and declared that he supported the unemployed, but that a bill such as this only adds to the growing deficit and that it should be paid for immediately.
I have offered to do the same thing for the same amount of time. The only difference that I have….is that I believe we should pay for it….There are going to be other bills brought to this floor that are not going to be paid for, and I’m going to object every time they do it.
Senator Bob Corker joined Bunning, while other senators worked to cease his objections until 11:48 p.m. EST. When Senator Jeff Merkley urged him to drop his objections to vote on a 30-day extension of benefits, Bunning responded “tough shit.” On March 2, Bunning finally agreed to end his objection to the bill in exchange for a vote on his amendment to pay for the package. It failed 53–43 on a procedural vote. The extension of unemployment benefits then passed by a vote of 78–19.
Aborted 2010 re-election campaign
In January 2009, when asked whether Bunning was the best candidate to run or whether there were better GOP candidates for Bunning’s Senate seat, National Republican Senatorial Committee Chairman John Cornyn said: “I don’t know. I think it’s really up to Senator Bunning.” Bunning replied: “Anybody can run for anything they choose. I am gearing up, and I look forward to the challenge of taking on whoever comes out of the Democrat primary in May of 2010.” Kentucky State Senate President David L. Williams was reportedly considering running against Bunning in the primary. Bunning responded by threatening to sue the National Republican Senatorial Committee if they recruited a candidate to run against him in the primary. He also attacked NRSC Chairman John Cornyn:
The NRSC never helped me last time and they’re probably not going to help me this time … [David Williams] owes me $30,000 and he said he’ll repay me. I was short in my FEC money and he asked me if I would help save two state senate seats … I told him if I did it I would have to have it replaced at the first of the year. So far he has not.
As of the end of September 2008, Bunning had $175,000 in his campaign account. By comparison, all other Republican senators facing competitive 2010 races had at least $850,000 at that point. In the last quarter of 2008, the senator’s campaign committee Citizens for Bunning had raised $27,000 from 26 separate contributions, ending the year with $150,000 in cash. In mid-April, KYWORDSMITH.com reported that of the $263,000 that Bunning collected during the first quarter of 2009, over 77% ($203,383) was received from out of state, while over 10% ($28,100) was actually untouchable for another 13 months as it was contributed exclusively for use in a general election. Bunning had two fund raisers scheduled in the first half of April.
In an April 2009 poll, Bunning’s approval rating was just 28%, and he trailed the four most likely Democratic candidates in hypothetical contests. 54% of voters in the state disapproved of Bunning’s performance. Kentucky Secretary of State Trey Grayson announced on April 30, 2009, that he would form an exploratory committee to run for Bunning’s seat. It was speculated that this was a precursor to Bunning’s retirement. “He (Bunning) told Trey to do this”, one senior congressional official said of Bunning. “Why else would he tell his main rival to prepare for a run?”  However, Bunning said at a Lincoln Day dinner in Kentucky on 9 May that he still planned to run: “The battle is going to be long, but I am prepared to fight for my values.”
In a press conference on May 19, Bunning called Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell a “control freak“: “If Mitch McConnell doesn’t endorse me, it could be the best thing that ever happened to me in Kentucky.”
On July 27, 2009, Bunning announced he would not run for re-election in 2010, blaming fellow Republicans for doing “everything in their power to dry up my fundraising.” On April 14, 2010, in a further show of disdain for GOP leadership and insiders, Bunning announced his support for outsider candidate Rand Paul over establishment favorite Trey Grayson.
- Committee on Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs
- Committee on the Budget
- Committee on Energy and Natural Resources
- Committee on Finance
Jim Bunning Foundation
On December 18, 2008, the Lexington Herald Leader reported that Sen. Bunning’s non-profit foundation, the Jim Bunning Foundation, has given less than 25 percent of its proceeds to charity. The charity has taken in $504,000 since 1996, according to Senate and tax records; during that period, Senator Bunning was paid $180,000 in salary by the foundation while working a reported one hour per week. Bunning Foundation board members include his wife Mary, and Cincinnati tire dealer Bob Sumerel. In 2008, records indicate that Bunning attended 10 baseball shows around the country and signed autographs, generating $61,631 in income for the charity. “The whole thing is very troubling”, said Melanie Sloan, Executive Director for Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington.
|1986||Terry L. Mann||53,906||44%||Jim Bunning||67,626||56%||*|
|1988||Richard V. Beliles||50,575||26%||Jim Bunning||145,609||74%|
|1990||Galen Martin||44,979||31%||Jim Bunning||101,680||69%|
|1992||Floyd G. Poore||86,890||38%||Jim Bunning||139,634||62%|
|1994||Sally Harris Skaggs||33,717||26%||Jim Bunning||96,695||74%|
|1996||Denny Bowman||68,939||32%||Jim Bunning||149,135||68%|
*In 1986, Walter T. Marksberry received 735 votes, W. Ed Parker received 485 votes, and other write-ins received 11 votes.
|1998||Scotty Baesler||563,051||49.2%||Jim Bunning||569,817||49.7%||Charles R. Arbegust||Reform||12,546||1.1%|
|2004||Daniel Mongiardo||850,855||49%||Jim Bunning||873,507||51%|
In 2005 Bunning received the United States Sports Academy’s highest honor, the Eagle Award, which is given in recognition of an individual’s significant contributions to international sport.
The 1996 Major League Baseball All-Star Game, held in Philadelphia, was dedicated to Bunning and fellow Phillies legends Richie Ashburn, Steve Carlton, Robin Roberts and Mike Schmidt, all of whom threw out the ceremonial first pitch.
Jim Bunning’s perfect game
On June 21, 1964, Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history, defeating the New York Mets 6-0 in the first game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium. A father of seven children at the time, Bunning pitched his perfect game on Father’s Day. One of Bunning’s daughters, Barbara, was in attendance, as was his wife, Mary. Needing only 90 pitches to complete his masterpiece, Bunning struck out 10 batters, including six of the last nine he faced; the last two strikeouts were of the last two batters he faced: George Altman and John Stephenson.
The perfect game was the first regular season perfect game since Charlie Robertson’s perfect game in 1922 (Don Larsen had pitched a perfect game in between, in the 1956 World Series), as well as the first in modern-day National League history (two perfect games had been pitched in 1880). It was also the first no-hitter by a Phillies pitcher since Johnny Lush no-hit the Brooklyn Superbas on May 1, 1906.
Bunning, who no-hit the Boston Red Sox while with the Detroit Tigers in 1958, joined Cy Young as the only pitchers to throw no-hitters in both the National and American Leagues; he has since been joined by Nolan Ryan, Hideo Nomo and Randy Johnson. The perfect game also made Bunning the third pitcher, after Young and Addie Joss, to throw a perfect game and an additional no-hitter; Sandy Koufax, Johnson, Mark Buehrle and Roy Halladay have since joined him (the latter of these pitchers pitched his additional no-hitter in the 2010 National League Division Series after pitching his perfect game earlier in the season).
As the perfect game developed, Bunning defied the baseball superstition that no one should talk about a no-hitter in progress, speaking to his teammates about the perfect game to keep himself relaxed and loosen up his teammates. Bunning had abided by the tradition during a near-no hitter a few weeks before, determining afterwards that keeping quiet didn’t help.
|Philadelphia Phillies (37-23)||1||1||0||0||0||4||0||0||0||6||8||0|
|New York Mets (20-46)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|WP: Jim Bunning (7-2) LP: Tracy Stallard (4-9)|
The Mickey Mantle 1952 Rookie Card in Mint condition solf for 1.1 Million at auction.