Philadelphia Phillies: 50 greatest players of all-time
Jim Bunning already was a great major-league pitcher in nine seasons with the Detroit Tigers before joining the Phillies. His run of success continued once he donned the red pinstripes.
Bunning joined the Phillies for the 1964 season after a trade from Detroit. He hit the ground running in Philadelphia, leading the league in strikeout-to-walk ratio and walks per nine innings. He was selected to his fourth-straight and sixth overall All-Star team.
Bunning’s most memorable moment of the 1964 season came on Father’s Day when he threw the first perfect game and fifth no-hitter in franchise history against the New York Mets. While most pitchers don’t talk about no-hitters or perfect games in progress, Bunning talked about it the whole time in the dugout.
Bunning earned another All-Star appearance in 1966, as he finished the season with a league-leading five shutouts, 2.41 ERA, 1.003 WHIP and 4.58 strikeout-to-walk ratio in a league-leading 41 starts. Bunning finished second in Cy Young voting in 1967 as he led the league in strikeouts, starts, shutouts and innings pitched.
The Phillies traded Bunning after that spectacular season to the Pittsburgh Pirates, but he was never quite the same pitcher after that. He spent the last two years of his career in Philadelphia, posting a meager 4.57 ERA over the two years. Bunning retired after the 1971 season.
Bunning ended his Phillies career with a 2.93 ERA, 65 complete games, 23 shutouts, 1.111 WHIP and a 3.64 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 226 games and 1520.2 innings pitched. In franchise history, Bunning ranks fourth in WHIP, fifth in shutouts, sixth in strikeout-to-walk ratio and seventh in strikeouts.
Bunning was never voted into the National Basetball Hall of Fame, despite receiving 74.2 percent of votes in 1988. He was inducted by the Veteran’s Committee in 1996 and wears a Phillies hat on his plaque.