Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Take It Easy On Jim Bunning!


So I hear Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) is causing ruckus on the floor of the United States Senate. Although I'm not much of a political guy, I do have a general idea about what's going on in Washington. And from what I understand, Senator Bunning is single handily blocking a bill that would extend unemployment benefits for the unemployed. He says he has no beef with the $10 billion bill if Congress can tell him how they'll pay for it.

Ok, I can see where the Senator is coming from, but I think he picked the wrong bill to try and flex fiscal responsibility. Basically what Bunning is claiming is that he's following President Obama's "Pay As You Go" orders. But the government is already in a $6 trillion hole, so what difference is an extra $10 billion gonna make? So maybe Senator Bunning could let this one go but I definitely heed his point.

But anyway, enough with the politics--

I'll leave the party bickering and the standoffs to the political blogs. I mean, it's something that's been going on for 234 years so I don't think anyone is surprised by it.

I won't vouch for Jim Bunning the Senator because, like I said, I don't know enough about the issue to form a genuine opinion-- but I will vouch for Jim Bunning, the eccentric Hall of Fame pitcher.

People in Washington can say what they want about Bunning, but no one can take away is tenacity and no-holds-barred style on the pitching mound. If he governs the way he pitched, I can see why he has the Senate in a standoff.

Bunning played 17 seasons in the major leagues mostly with the Detroit Tigers (9 seasons) and the Philadelphia Phillies (6 seasons). He compiled a 224-184 record, 3.27 ERA, and 2855 Strikeouts. When he retired, his 2855 SO were the second most ever behind Walter Johnson's 3508. Bunning was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

When Bunning was on the mound he owned the plate. If a batter was too close he did not hesitate to pitch inside and he could care less if he hit the batter or not. On the mound he called all the shots, driving his managers (especially Gene Mauch) crazy. Mauch would signal a pitch to the catcher from the dugout and Bunning would shake his head basically saying, "No, I'm doing my own thing."

A few of Bunning's highlights--

  • Pitched a no-hitter for the Tigers on July 20, 1958 against the Boston Red Sox.
  • Pitched a perfect game for the Phillies on June 21, 1964 against the New York Mets.
  • 7-time All-Star selection.
  • He is one of only 6 pitchers to throw a no-hitter and a perfect game.
  • And one of only 5 pitchers to throw a no-hitter in both leagues.
  • He was at the center of the infamous collapse of the 1964 Phillies. Manager Gene Mauch overused Bunning down the stretch and in the end the fatigue got the best of Bunning and the Phillies who blew a six game lead with 10 to play. They lost 10 in a row and handed the pennant to the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • His No. 14 was retired by the Phillies in 2001. Why the Detroit Tigers haven't retired his number is a mystery to many, including myself.
  • As mentioned above, he was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1996.

So with all the heat the two-term Senator from Kentucky is feeling these days, as a baseball fan, I felt it was important not to forget who the man was. But somehow I get the feeling Senator Bunning could care less what his critiques are saying about him.

Compared to the pressures he felt on the mound, criticism in Washington is probably a piece of cake for him.

Senator Bunning photo courtesy of the AP
Baseball card photos courtesy of baseball-almanac.com

Stats courtesy of baseball-reference.com

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