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Bunning Scornful of Jinxes

June 21, 1964 - Jim Bunning, the Philadelphia pitcher who threw the first regular season perfect game in 42 years today at Shea Stadium, defied baseball’s old tradition by chattering about his no-hitter during the game.

“It looked like he sensed it early,” Phillies manager Gene Mauch said after the game. “He started moving his infielders and outfielders around, and he talked about it. ‘Nine more outs, boys,’ he’d yell.”

The only tough chance in the game came in the fifth inning. Jesse Gonder hit a liner to Tony Taylor’s left. Taylor dove for it, got his glove on it, then scampered after it when it jumped out. He threw Gonder out, and that was it.

That’s when Bunning knew he had something going. “From the fifth inning on, I thought about it,” he admitted. “By then, you know you’ve got a chance.

“Sure, I talked about it. Jinx? I don’t believe in jinxes. I talked during the last one too [no-hitter against the Red Sox in 1958]. That way, you’re not disappointed. When I pitched that one-hitter in Houston, I talked, and after the guy got the hit, I didn’t feel so bad.

“I talk a lot. It helps you from getting tired. I think it carries over into the game. This was as good as the other no-hitter.

I’m a better pitcher now. I know how to pitch better. I threw a little harder then.”

Mauch seemed to sense it even earlier than Bunning. “We knew when he was warming up this was something special,” Mauch said. “The way he was throwing, so live, and as high as he was. Not high with his pitches. High, himself.

“That’s why we bunted in the first inning and in the second, playing for one run.”

One run would have been enough, but the Phillies got six, and Bunning drove in two of them.

“That was pretty good,” Mets manager Casey Stengel said after the muggy day was over. “He finished strong, and he deserves credit. He showed he was bearing down in a lot of ways. Like swinging the bat, running ‘em out. I knew he could pitch good because he pitched for me in the All-Star game.”

Bunning pitched good for the Tigers too, but they traded him to the Phillies in December for Don Demeter. Maybe it motivates him, but he doesn’t seem like the kind of guy who thinks in terms of revenge.

“I thanked Jim Campbell [Detroit general manager] when they traded me,” he said today. “I felt they would start a younger club. I figured it would be best for both sides if they made a deal. I think they made a nice deal.”

Bunning dominated today’s game from start to finish. He struck out 10 in all, and he went 3-2 on two hitters. He needed only 90 pitches, and only half of those were fastballs.

“He was getting his curve over,” catcher Gus Triandos said, “and he mixed them all up, sliders, changeups, the works.”

It was Triandos’ second no-hitter. “I caught Hoyt Wilhelm’s against the Yankees. This one was easier.”

“Why?” asked a reporter.

“Did you ever catch a knuckler?” Triandos shot back.

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