FORT THOMAS, KY—Hall of Fame MLB pitcher and former senator Jim Bunning died at the age of 85 just before midnight on Saturday, May 27, a result of complications he sustained from a stroke he suffered in October 2016.
Bunning’s MLB career commenced in 1955 with the Detroit Tigers. He would then go on to pitch for the Philadelphia Phillies (first from 1964-1967, and again in from 1970-1971), Pittsburgh Pirates (1968-1969), and Los Angeles Dodgers (1969). The right-hander retired in 1971 and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1996.
In his 17-year career, Bunning won a total of 224 games. He posted 2,855 strikeouts, the second largest number in baseball history after former Washington Senators pitcher Walter Johnson. He was the second pitcher (following Cy Young) to post 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts.
As a senator, Bunning served 12 years in the U.S. House. In 2007, the National Journal ranked him as the second most conservative senator following Jim DeMint. Reports state that Bunning was a “fierce” defender of tobacco, along with coal and its military bases.
Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader, told reporters:
“Senator Jim Bunning led a long and storied life. From his days in the major leagues to his years as my colleague in the Senate — and the many points in between, from the City Council to the House of Representatives — Jim rarely shied away from a new adventure. 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.”