His career was evenly split between the major leagues, Bunning was the first pitcher since Cy Young to win over 100 or to strike out over 1,000 in each league. He retired second only to Walter Johnson with 2,885 strikeouts. He pitched a no-hitter for Detroit in 1958 and a perfect game for the Phillies against the Mets in 1964.
The 6’3″ righthander’s unusual pitching style, a sweeping sidearm delivery that finished with his glove hand touching the ground well in front of the mound, made him especially difficult for right-handed batters.
Bunning was 20-8 for the Tigers in 1957 but never again won 20. He had 19 victories for Detroit in 1962; then, after being traded to the Phillies in 1964, he won 19 in each of his first three years in Philadelphia. In 1967, when he won 17, he set an ML record with five 1-0 losses.
After retiring as a player, Bunning managed in the minors for five years, then entered Kentucky politics. He was elected to the state legislature and ran unsuccessfully for governor. In 1986, he was elected to the U.S. House of Representatives as a Republican from a heavily Democratic district.