Hall of Fame pitcher and former Republican senator Jim Bunning died last night at the age of 85.
Bunning played in the major leagues from 1955 to 1971, spending most of his career with the Tigers and Phillies. A nine-time All-Star who received MVP or Cy Young Award votes in five different seasons, he was elected to the Hall of Fame in 1996. He became the first pitcher after Cy Young to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts with no-hitters in both the American and National Leagues, and he threw the fifth perfect game of the modern era with the Phillies in 1964:
He was also a key architect of the MLB Players’ Association in the 1960s.
After baseball, Bunning eventually turned to politics in his native Kentucky. He was elected to the House of Representatives in 1986 and served there for twelve years before moving onto the Senate, where he served two terms before deciding not to run for re-election in 2010. He was recognized as one of the most conservative senators in office during that time and ranked among TIME Magazine’s Five Worst Senators in 2006 for his hostility to staffers and other lawmakers alike as well as the fact that he showed “little interest in policy unless it involve[d] baseball.”