Detroit Tigers: Jim Bunning
"On December 5, 1963, the Philadelphia Phillies traded Don Demeter and Jack Hamilton to the Detroit Tigers for Jim Bunning and Gus Triandos."
While it’s certainly not the most recent deal in Phillies history, the trade that brought Jim Bunning to Philadelphia is one of the best in team history.
In the early 1960s the Phillies had some of the worst teams in franchise history, winning just 59 games in 1960 and only 47 the season after. The emergence of young players like Johnny Callison, Tony Taylor, and Tony Gonzalez helped propel the team to back-to-back seasons with at least 80 wins, something they hadn’t done in nearly a decade.
Ready to propel the team into a playoff chase, Phillies general manager John Quinn traded for 31-year-old All-Star pitcher Jim Bunning and veteran catcher Gus Triandos, who spent less than two seasons with the team.
Coming off seven consecutive double-digit win seasons, Bunning was one of baseball’s best pitchers and instantly became a workhorse for the Phillies.
Bunning won 19 games in three consecutive seasons to start his career in Philadelphia, helping them win 92 games in 1964, the most wins by the franchise in the 20th century.
In his first four seasons with the Phillies Bunning won 74 games with 60 complete games and nearly 1,000 strikeouts. He was named to two All-Star teams and finished second in the Cy Young race at the age of 35 when he led the league with 253 strikeouts in a league-high 302.1 innings.
After the ’67 season the Phillies traded Bunning to Pittsburgh in a four player deal that brought Don Money to Philadelphia.
Bunning would return to the Phillies in 1970 after stints in Pittsburgh and Los Angeles, and pitched two more years for Philadelphia.
In 1996 he was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame by a Veteran’s Committee and his number 14 was retired by the Phillies. Later in his life Bunning was elected to the United States Senate and served the state of Kentucky.