JAMES P. BUNNING ('53) -- 1995 Inductee -- lettered one-year in baseball as a freshman.
Jim Bunning represents what might have been at Xavier, yet never was. During his freshman season, he tossed three one-hitters on the frosh team, but just as Coach Ned Wulk was starting to drool about having Bunning on the varsity, he was drafted by the Detroit Tigers. Bunning did return for two seasons (1952-54) to coach Xavier's freshman basketball team and to pick up his degree in 1953, but outside of that, his baseball career laurels came from Detroit and Philadelphia.
His 12-year career record was 224-184, with a lifetime ERA of 3.27. He pitched for the Tigers from 1955-63, where he had his best year ever (20-8 in 1957). Except for a brief 1 1/2-year stint with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1968-69, he finished out his career with the Phillies from 1964-68 and from 1969-71. His first four years with the Phillies he put together ERA's of 2.63, 2.60, 2.41 and 2.29, respectively. During his career he won 19 games in a season four different times and struck out over 200 batters in a season six times -- leading the league three times.
The highlight of his career was a perfect game no-hitter against the New York Mets in 1964 in a game in which he drove in two runs. He also pitched a no-hitter in 1958, when he was with the Tigers, against the Boston Red Sox. He was the first player to win no hitters in both leagues.
A 1996 inductee into the Baseball Hall of Fame, Bunning was a seven-time Major League all-star. He was the first pitcher since Cy Young to record 100 wins and 1,000 strikeouts in both leagues. He was also instrumental in founding the players' union.
Bunning's baseball career concluded after 17 years and a successful new career began. In 1983 he was a nominee for the Governor of Kentucky. He has worked as a stockbroker..