Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning has died

At 6 foot-3, Bunning was physically imposing, and on both the baseball diamond and Capitol Hill he was known for a toughness that could be intimidating.

Jon Deuser, who served as Bunning's chief of staff during his time in the Senate, confirmed the news of his death.

Bunning was a staunch conservative, first as a US representative from Northern Kentucky's 4th Congressional District and later as a two-term USA senator.

The family issued a statement on his death, which was due to complications from a stroke he suffered last October, reports the Louisville Courier-Journal.

Pitching for 17 seasons, mostly with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies, Mr. Bunning, a right-hander, dominated batters with his sidearm deliveries. His pitched his first no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers on July 20, 1958, and threw a flawless game for the Philadelphia Phillies on June 21, 1964. The big right-hander, known for his intimidating mound presence, pitched the first flawless game in modern National League history and became the first pitcher after 1900 to throw no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues.

"This Hall of Famer will long be remembered for many things, including a flawless game, a larger-than-life personality, a passion for Kentucky, and a loving family", he said.

After serving as majority leader in the Kentucky State Senate, Mr. Bunning was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1986.

Following his baseball career, he went into politics and became U.S. Senator.

Bunning's contributions to the game speak for themselves.

Mr. Bunning also was a passionate players' union leader, belying his later ideology.

Bunning's wife, Mary Catherine, whom he married in 1952, survives him.

After laboring for six seasons in the minor leagues, Bunning broke into the majors with Detroit in 1955 and earned a reputation as a hard worker.

While he won plenty of headlines as a baseball standout, the broad, tall and white-haired Bunning was more of a backup in Congress. Bunning was inducted into the Hall in Cooperstown, NY., in 1996.

Bunning retired at the end of his second term in 2010 and was replaced by current Republican Senator Rand Paul. He also pitched for the Tigers, Pirates and Dodgers over his 17-year career.

He began a very successful political career when he was elected to City Council in Fort Thomas, Ky., in 1977. Then, with the retirement of U.S. Sen.

  • Zachary Reyes