American baseball player and politician
James Paul David Bunning (October 23, 1931 – May 26, 2017) was an American professional baseball pitcher and politician who represented Kentucky in both chambers of the United States Congress. He was the sole Major League Baseball athlete to have been elected to both the United States Senate and the National Baseball Hall of Fame. Bunning pitched from 1955 to 1971 for the Detroit Tigers, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and Los Angeles Dodgers. When Bunning retired, he had the second-highest total career strikeouts in Major League history; he currently ranks 22nd. As a member of the Phillies, Bunning pitched the seventh perfect game in Major League Baseball history on June 21, 1964, the first game of a Father's Day doubleheader at Shea Stadium, against the New York Mets. It was the first perfect game in the National League since 1880. Bunning was inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in 1996 after election by the Hall's Veterans Committee. After retiring from baseball, Bunning returned to his native northern Kentucky and was elected to the Fort Thomas city council, then the Kentucky Senate, in which he served as minority leader. In 1986, Bunning was elected to the United States 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.
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