Services set in Kentucky for ex-pitcher, US Sen. Jim Bunning

Best known around the sports world as a Hall of Fame pitcher that spent 17 years in the Majors, Jim Bunning has passed away at the age of 85.

Known as a no-nonsense pitcher who threw hard and knocked batters down when necessary, Bunning belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a ideal game in the modern era. The club inducted the former pitcher into the Philadelphia Baseball Wall of Fame in 1984, and later retired his No. 14 jersey in 1996, the same year he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Bunning also served 12 years in the US House.

His son, Kentucky District Judge David Bunning tweeted about his father's death, Fox 19 Cincinnati reports. He suffered a stroke in October 2016 and was in hospice care when he died, according to former Senate chief of staff Jon Deuser. He also belonged to a rare group of major league pitchers to throw a flawless game in the modern era. In the Senate, his ornery nature forced Republican leaders to push him to retire after two terms. A Roman Catholic with nine children, Bunning voted consistently to limit abortion as an option for women and had contempt for colleagues who softened their position on the highly emotional issue.At the end of his run as a senator, in what NPR's Ron Elving called "a lonely crusade to become a fiscal hero", Bunning single-handedly held up unemployment payments for millions of Americans during a two-day filibuster against $10 billion in stimulus spending.Bunning's contributions to the game speak for themselves. "He clearly succeeded in doing so".

Months later, on Father's Day, June 21, 1964, Bunning pitched the seventh ideal game in baseball history and the first in 42 years against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. "Elaine and I offer our honest condolences to Mary and the entire Bunning family". He was a staunchly conservative voice in the Senate and a fierce protector of state interests such as tobacco, coal and military bases. McConnell's hand-picked choice to succeed Bunning lost in the primary to Tea Party candidate Rand Paul, whom Bunning endorsed. Standing at the desk once occupied by Kentucky's Henry Clay, one of the great names in the Senate's history, Mr. Bunning cited another forum to make his point.

He was active in the rise of the baseball players' union in the 1960s, joining with Robin Roberts and Harvey Kuenn in recruiting Marvin Miller, then an economist for the steelworkers, as the union's executive director.

He was a consistent victor and workhorse pitcher for the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies.

  • Zachary Reyes