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🚨Jim Bunning of Phillies Pitches Perfect Game

June 21, 1964 - Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies pitched the first perfect game in the National League in 84 years today when he retired all 27 New York Met batters.

The Phils won the contest, the first game of a doubleheader at Shea Stadium, by 6-0 before 32,904 fans who were screaming for Bunning during the final two innings.

The lanky right-hander became the eighth man in the 88-year history of major league baseball to pitch a perfect game. He is the first man to pitch one in the majors since Don Larsen of the New York Yankees did not permit a Brooklyn Dodger to reach base in the fifth game of the 1956 World Series.

Bunning also became the first pitcher in the modern era (since 1901) to hurl a no-hit game in each major league. The former Detroit Tiger pitcher held the Boston Red Sox hitless on July 20, 1958. That performance, during which he walked two batters and hit one, came in the first game of a Sunday doubleheader on a hot day at Fenway Park.

Today’s perfect pitching turned the usually loyal Met fans into Bunning fans in the late innings. From the seventh inning on, the 32-year-old Bunning had the crowd virtually 100% behind him as he toiled in the 91-degree heat.

When Bunning struck out a rookie, John Stephenson, the 27th and last Met hitter, he received a standing ovation that lasted for many minutes. He was mobbed by his teammates, and when he went to the dugout, the crowd began chanting, “We want Bunning! We want Bunning!”

He returned to the field to be interviewed behind home plate by Ralph Kiner on a television show. The crowd, still standing, gave him one of the biggest ovations ever heard in the Mets’ new stadium.

The last National League pitcher to hurl perfect ball was John M. Ward for Providence against Buffalo on June 17, 1880. Five days before that, John Lee Richmond of Worcester hurled the first perfect game against Cleveland in the National League. (The American League was established in 1901.)

Many rules have been changed since the achievements of Ward and Richmond. In 1880, the distance from the pitcher to batter was 45 feet. The distance now is 60 feet 6 inches. Also in 1880, it took nine balls to gain a base on balls, and a batter was out if a foul ball was caught on the first bounce.

Since the turn of the century, five American League pitchers have recorded perfect games. Larsen’s achievement was the first since Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox pitched one against the Detroit Tigers on April 30, 1922. Thus Bunning’s was the first regular-season major league perfect game in 42 years.


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