Jim Bunning, an imposing Hall of Fame pitcher and a cantankerous, resolutely conservative U.S. Senator from Kentucky, died Friday at age 85. He'd suffered a stroke in October.
Bunning served 12 years in the U.S. House, followed by two terms in the Senate. In addition to throwing no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues, he was also the second pitcher after Cy Young to win 100 games and pitch 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues, according to the Hall of Fame.
Bunning made a decision to leave the Senate in 2010 after tension with his own party.
In 1957, Bunning became the only pitcher ever to strike out Ted Williams, considered one of baseball's greatest hitters, three times in one game.
After retiring from baseball in 1971, Bunning narrowly missed out election to Cooperstown over the 20 years he was eligible to be on the ballot. The family did not disclose the cause of death. "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".
"A flawless game is a freaky thing", Bunning told WCPO, leading up to the 2015 All-Star Game in Cincinnati. He co-authored legislation calling for stiff punishment for professional athletes caught using steroids.
A nine-time All-Star, Bunning pitched in the majors from 1955-71 with the Phillies and Detroit Tigers.
His career highlights included a no-hitter for the Tigers in 1958 and a ideal game for the Phillies in 1964.
In 1993, five years before President Bill Clinton was impeached by the House on charges stemming from having an affair with an intern, Bunning drew attention when he denounced the then newly elected Democrat as "corrupt", "amoral" and "despicable".
Bunning won a seat on the Fort Thomas City Council in 1977 and entered the state Senate two years later. He was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996 via the Veterans Committee.
Just hours before the Senate was expected to pass the measure, Major League Baseball and its players association announced an agreement to toughen drug tests and penalties. Wendell Ford. He defeated Democrat Scotty Baesler by a mere 6,766 votes.