Senator Jim Bunning
Hidden amidst the white blooms of the Dogwoods and the tall blades of the bluegrass lies a Kentucky institution named the Greyhound Tavern. Jim Bunning, a Hall of Fame pitcher with the Phillies, Tigers, Pirates, and most importantly the Dodgers, took me to eat at the Greyhound tonight after I spoke for him.
We had some hot slaw, fried chicken, meat loaf, cheese mashed potatoes and all the fixings. We talked about baseball, named our all-time MLB team and had a lot of laughs. I listed Jim as one of my all-time right handers, but he declined.
It was a pleasure to speak for Jim. He was a great pitcher, a great friend, and now that he is in the United States Senate he is doing something great for his country. While he is a skilled politian, his skill on the mound was tremendous. But what made him great was his dominance on the inside of the plate.
And he was mean. He would knock his own mother down, even on Mother’s Day.
Jim comes from an era in baseball without pitch counts, without left-handed specialists out of the bullpen, without steroids and without multimillion dollar contracts. He played for the love of the game, and he played the game with every bit of drive and determination he had within himself. He never looked down to the bullpen in the fifth or sixth inning. He wanted to pitch all nine and beat you.
I look forward to seeing Jim, and his lovely wife Mary of 57 years, every year at Cooperstown for the Induction weekend. He is a good man and an even better friend and it was great to be with him tonight in Kentucky.