Sunday, March 14, 2010

The HOF Senator of No

Senator Jim Bunning (R) KY has been in the news recently as a conspicuous dick-head who single-handedly obstructed the payment of unemployment benefits to millions of struggling Americans. It turns out he's consistently ranked as both one of the most conservative US Senators and as one of the worst US Senators.
As I'm sure anyone who'd be reading this blog would know, Bunning is a Hall Of Fame pitcher. So I asked myself, "Just who is this guy and what kind of a ballplayer was he? Were there any portents of dick-headedness apparent early in his public life?"

He pitched 17 ML seasons, 1955 thru 1971, with a won-loss record of 224-184 and a career ERA of 3.27. His 2,855 career strikeouts was #2 all-time at the time, now ranks as #17 all-time.
A perusal of his career stats page shows that he was a "workhorse" pitcher during his peak years, roughly '63 through '67, eating up 300+ innings and recording complete games in the teens annually.
In 1958, as a Detroit Tiger, he threw a no-hitter, and on Father's Day in 1964 he threw a perfect game for the Phillies.
The '64 season is notorious for the great "Phillie Phold."

"Bunning is remembered for his role in the pennant race of 1964, in which the Phillies held a commanding lead in the National League for most of the season, eventually losing the title to the St. Louis Cardinals. Manager Gene Mauch used Bunning and fellow hurler Chris Short heavily down the stretch, and the two became visibly fatigued as September wore on. The collapse of the 1964 Phillies remains one of the most infamous in baseball history. With a six and a half game lead as late as September 21, they lost 10 games in a row to finish tied for second place." (from Wikipedia)

Bunning and Mauch feuded. Mauch was experimenting with the idea of the manager calling pitches from the dugout but Bunning always shook off those signs.

Maybe that's what Senator Bunning has been doing lately, stubbornly shaking off the signs, signs from the American people, that change is a welcome thing, that we selected a president and a congress to get certain things accomplished, to make the world a better place. Instead he's standing up for some obsolete notion of the way things ought to be. And he's doing it all for a losing cause.


Anonymous said...

Um, did I stumble on the Huffington Post here or something? As an unemployed worker drawing unemployment, I resent the idea that anyone who casts a vote against extensions is somehow an obstructionist. Perhaps he figures this "hope and change" congress and President should spend more time cutting taxes and offering incentives to the thousands of small business owners upon whom our hope for recovery rests instead of taxing them to death to pay for extending benefits until the magical day that jobs decide to come back from overseas.

I HATE being unemployed, but I totally understand where he's coming from. The question is, why wasn't Congress working feverishly for the past year and a half on the jobs issue (not this lip-service green job nonsense) instead of trying to pass a giant health care bill that nobody likes?

It's tough being the bad guy, but at least someone (Bunning) is putting a face on this issue.

Ahhhhnnndd I'm done.

How is Benjie doing this spring? I've heard very little about him . . .


Bob said...

Nobody likes this guy, not even his fellow Kentuckian Mitch McConnell, the minority leader.
Yeah, lets cut taxes and while we're at it let's deregulate things some more too. That always helps.
Anyway, it was mostly a baseball story.

Zo said...

Speaking personally, as a youth growing up in a suburb of St. Louis, the 1964 season was one of my greatest memories. What is more, the Cardinals went on to kick some Yankee ass in the World Series. I remember particularly sitting in some lush green grass with my friend Danny Kilgore under a tree in September. I think the sewer line drained near there, at any rate, at this time of year, the grass was still long and green. We could listen to the transistor radio (Jack Buck and Harry Caray, your Cardinals' broadcasters) and pull out long tufts of grass, hold them to our heads and throw them in the air. We were pretending to be Gene Mauch pulling our hair out.

Richard said...

Hey, a little HuffPost from time to time is a good thing. I happen to know someone who played with this guy in Philadelphia. He says he was always a little anti-social.

JC Parsons said...

Sen. Bunning's lastest "action" involves blocking the appointment of 3 low-level officials. His rationale this time is priceless. He won't cooperate until the US officially condemns a recent Canadian law that outlaws...wait for it...candy cigarettes. I shit you not. Gee, I wonder why the Senator from Kentucky is such a defender of a kid's right to pretend to smoke?