Jim Bunning

American baseball player and politician

James Paul David "Jim" Bunning (October 23, 1931 – May 26, 2017) was an American former Major League Baseball pitcher and politician.

Jim Bunning
United States Senator
from Kentucky
In office
January 3, 1999 – January 3, 2011
Preceded byWendell H. Ford
Succeeded byRand Paul
Member of the U.S. House of Representatives
from Kentucky's 4th district
In office
January 3, 1987 – January 3, 1999
Preceded byGene Snyder
Succeeded byKen Lucas
Personal details
James Paul David Bunning

(1931-10-23)October 23, 1931
Southgate, Kentucky, U.S.
DiedMay 26, 2017(2017-05-26) (aged 85)
Fort Thomas, Kentucky, U.S.
Political partyRepublican
Mary Catherine Theis
(m. 1952)
ResidenceSouthgate, Kentucky
Alma materXavier University (B.A.)
ProfessionBaseball player, investment broker
Jim Bunning
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
July 20, 1955, for the Detroit Tigers
Last MLB appearance
September 3, 1971, for the Philadelphia Phillies
MLB statistics
Win–loss record224–184
Earned run average3.27
Career highlights and awards
Member of the National
Baseball Hall of Fame
VoteVeterans Committee

Bunning played as a pitcher in the Major League Baseball. In his career, he played for the Detroit Tigers (1955–1963), the Philadelphia Phillies (1964–1967; 1970–1971), the Pittsburgh Pirates (1968–1969) and the Los Angeles Dodgers (1969). He retired from baseball in 1971.

Bunning served in the United States House of Representatives from January 3, 1987 through January 3, 1999. He was a member of the Republican Party. Bunning served in the United States Senate from January 3, 1999 through January 3, 2011 after retiring.

Bunning was 67 years old when he entered U.S. Senate. Among the bills that Bunning sponsored is the Bunning-Bereuter-Blumenauer Flood Insurance Reform Act of 2004. Bunning was also the only member of the United States Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs to have opposed Ben Bernanke for Chief of the Federal Reserve.[1]

In the 2010 Senate election, Bunning said he would not run and later supported then-eye doctor Rand Paul. Paul won the election with 56% of the vote.

Early life


Bunning was born in Southgate, Kentucky. He studied at St. Xavier High School in Cincinnati, Ohio and later at Xavier University where he got a Bachelor's degree.

Baseball career


During his baseball career, he pitched from 1955 to 1971, most notably with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. In 1959, the right-hander struck out the side, throwing the minimum nine pitches as a reliever in the top of the ninth inning of Detroit's 5–4 loss to Boston at Briggs Stadium. Sammy White, Jim Mahoney and Ike Delock were the victims of his inning.

When Bunning retired, he had the second-highest total of career strikeouts in Major League history; he currently ranks 17th.

As a member of the Phillies, Bunning pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history on Father's Day Sunday, June 21, 1964, against the New York Mets. He was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1996.[2]

Political career


After retiring from baseball, Bunning returned to his native northern Kentucky and was elected to the city council, then the state senate, in which he served as minority leader.

In 1986, Bunning was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives from Kentucky's 4th congressional district, and served in the House from 1987 to 1999. He was elected to the United States Senate from Kentucky in 1998 and served two terms as the Republican junior U.S. Senator.[3]

Bunning reportedly blocked[4] the move to restore public access to the records of past United States Presidents which had been removed under Executive Order 13233.

A September 2009 statewide opinion poll said Bunning had a 35% approval rating, with 55% disapproving of his performance.[5]

In July 2009, he announced that he would not run for re-election in 2010. Bunning gave his farewell speech to the Senate on December 9, 2010, and was succeeded by Rand Paul on January 3, 2011.

Personal life


In 1952, Bunning married his wife Mary Catherine Theis. They had five daughters and four sons together. He lived in his hometown in Southgate, Kentucky.

Bunning died at a Fort Thomas, Kentucky hospital on the night of May 26, 2017 at the age of 85 following a stoke he suffered in October 2016.[6]


  1. Schuman, Joseph. "Senators Slam Bernanke Over Joblessness, but Fed Chief's Job Seems Safe". Aolnews.com. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  2. Greg Noble. "Jim Bunning: Fifty years ago, perfect game stamped his Hall of Fame ticket". WCPO. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  3. Espo, Dave (October 22, 2004). "Democrats Take Aim at Bunning in Kentucky". Associated Press.
  4. "Court Rules Delay in Release of Presidential Papers is Illegal; Fails to Address Authority of Former Vice Presidents to Hold Up Disclosure of Papers". National Security Archive. October 1, 2007.
  5. "SurveyUSA News Poll #15746". Surveyusa.com. Retrieved August 29, 2010.
  6. Senator Jim Bunning Dies at 85

Other websites


  Media related to Jim Bunning at Wikimedia Commons