Hall of Fame pitcher, former U.S. Senator Jim Bunning has died

PHILADELPHIA - OCTOBER 27: Former Philadelphia Phillies pitcher and U.S. Senator Jim Bunning (R-KY) throws out the ceremonial first pitch prior to game five of the 2008 MLB World Series between the Philadelphia Phillies and the Tampa Bay Rays on October 27, 2008 at Citizens Bank Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Jim Bunning, a former Hall of Fame pitcher who went on to serve in Congress, has died. He was 85.

Bunning’s death was confirmed by Jon Deuser, who served as chief of staff when Bunning was in the Senate. Deuser said he was notified about the death by Bunning’s family.

Bunning was one of only 18 Major League Baseball pitchers to throw a perfect game in the modern era. In the Senate, his ornery nature forced Republican leaders to push him to retire after two terms.

The Kentucky Republican also served 12 years in the U.S. House. He was a staunchly conservative voice in the Senate and a fierce protector of state interests such as tobacco, coal and military bases. He did not seek re-election in 2010.

The only member of the Baseball Hall of Fame to serve in Congress, Bunning was the second pitcher to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in the American and National Leagues.

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