Hall of Famer Jim Bunning, who threw the seventh perfect game ever, dies at 85

Hall of Famer and former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning has passed away, the Phillies have announced. He was 85.

Bunning's son David added this on Twitter:

"Jim was an incredible competitor and was determined to maximize his ability and make the most of everything he did in life," said Phillies chairman David Montgomery in a statement. "He clearly succeeded in doing so. Jim and his wife Mary remained close members of the Phillies family, attending our Alumni Weekend festivities whenever they were able to be in Philadelphia.  We were so honored to have had Jim and Mary here for what would be his last Alumni Weekend in 2016. The Bunning family has lost a very special patriarch, and we at the Phillies have lost a very special friend. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mary and the entire family at this difficult time."  

Bunning pitched 17 seasons in the big leagues from 1955-71. He spent most of his career with the Tigers, though he also pitched for the Phillies, Pirates, and Dodgers. Bunning went 224-184 with a 3.27 ERA in his career, and was voted into the Hall of Fame by the Veteran's Committee in 1996.

On June 21, 1964, Bunning threw the seventh perfect game in baseball history. He was with the Phillies at the time. Here are the final three outs:

In addition to his on-field accomplishments, Bunning also played a key role in the rise of the MLB Players Association. He was part of the committee that hired Marvin Miller as the union's first chief. Current MLBPA chief Tony Clark released the following statement regarding Bunning's death:

Following his playing career, Bunning returned home to Kentucky and got into politics. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1987-99, and served two terms as a U.S. Senator from 1999-2010.

"Senator Jim Bunning led a long and storied life," said U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell said in a statement. "From his days in the major leagues to his years as my colleague in the Senate -- and the many points in between, from the City Council to the House of Representatives -- Jim rarely shied away from a new adventure. This Hall of Famer will long be remembered for many things, including a perfect game, a larger-than-life personality, a passion for Kentucky, and a loving family. Elaine and I offer our sincere condolences to Mary and the entire Bunning family."  

Bunning suffered a stroke in October.

CBS Sports Writer

Mike Axisa joined CBS Sports in 2013. He has been a member of the BBWAA since 2015 and has previously written about both fantasy baseball and real life baseball for MLBTradeRumors.com, FanGraphs.com, RotoAuthority.com,... Full Bio

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