Baseball History: Jim Bunning’s Perfect Game

1964 jim bunningFather’s Day in 1964 became a memorable moment in baseball history thanks to Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Jim Bunning.

With the modern era of baseball beginning at the start of the 20th century, Bunning’s perfect game was the first in the National League during that time on June 21, 1964.

The Phillies beat the New York Mets 6-0 in the first game of a doubleheader in the inaugural season of Shea Stadium. Bunning threw 90 pitches and had 10 strikeouts as he finished the ninth by fanning John Stephenson.

In the batter‘s box, Bunning added a two-run double in the sixth that knocked in Tony Taylor and Gus Triandos to finish the scoring. Taylor saved the perfect game with a defensive gem, while Triandos was catching his second no-hitter. Triandos was behind the plate for Hoyt Wilhelm’s effort for the Baltimore Orioles in 1958.

A nine-time all-star, Bunning had a career mark of 224-184 in 17 seasons. He was the second pitcher to win 100 games in each league since 1900. Cy Young was the first and seven others have accomplished the feat since Bunning did it in 1970.

The right-hander played in Detroit from 1955-1963 and he tossed the first no-hitter of his career for the Tigers in 1958 against the Boston Red Sox. A year earlier, Bunning had his best season with the Tigers was when he was 20-8.

Bunning was with Philadelphia from 1964-1967 and won 19 games in each of his first three years with the Phillies.

He pitched for the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1968 and part of 1969 before being sent to the Los Angeles Dodgers. He finished his time in the big leagues with a return to the Phillies in 1970-71.

A Kentucky native, Bunning was a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1987-1999. During the time, he was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996. From 1999-2011, the 83-year old Bunning served in the U.S. Senate.


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