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Jim Bunning (1931 - 2017)

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Jim Bunning (1931 - 2017)

Jim Bunning, a Baseball Hall of Fame pitcher and former U.S. congressman, died Friday, May 26, 2017, according to multiple news sources. He was 85.

Bunning had a stroke in October. His death was confirmed by his former Senate chief of staff, Jon Deuser, according to The Associated Press.

He was the first modern pitcher to throw no-hitters in both the American League and National League. He pitched his first no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers July 20, 1958, and threw a perfect game for the Philadelphia Phillies June 21, 1964. It was the first perfect game in the National League in 84 years, and the first perfect game in big league baseball since Don Larsen’s in the 1956 World Series.

Bunning pitched in the majors for 17 years, during which time he won 224 games with a 3.27 ERA and amassed 2,855 strikeouts. He began his career with the Detroit Tigers in 1955 and was traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1964. Bunning also played for the Pittsburgh Pirates and Los Angeles Dodgers. A nine-time All-Star, he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by the veterans committee in 1996.

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Born Oct. 23, 1931, in Southgate, Kentucky, he turned to politics following his retirement from baseball. He held various local and state elected positions in Kentucky and fell short in his Kentucky gubernatorial bid in 1983.

In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives. A member of the Republican Party, he became known for his conservative voting record. In 1998, he was elected to the Senate; he served until his retirement in 2011.

At the time of his death, Bunning was the only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to have served in U.S. Congress.

“This Hall of Famer will long be remembered for many things, including a perfect game, a larger-than-life personality, a passion for Kentucky, and a loving family,” Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said in a news statement.

Bunning is survived by his wife, Mary, their nine children, and many grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

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