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On This Date in Sports June 21, 1964

In collaboration with the Sportsecyclopedia.com

Jim Bunning of the Philadelphia Phillies has the game of his life, tossing a perfect game in a 6-0 win over the New York Mets in the first game of a Father’s Day Doubleheader at Shea Stadium. Bunning who tossed a No Hitter with the Detroit Tigers in 1958, becomes the second pitcher to throw a No Hitter in both the American and National Leagues, joining Cy Young at the turn of the century.  In retiring all 27 batters he faced, Jim Bunning needed just 90 pitches as he struck out ten Mets, including pinch hitter John Stephenson to end the game.

The Perfect Game was the first milestone achievement at Shea Stadium, which had only opened two months as he got a big ovation from 32,026 fans in attendance. Jim Bunning also had a big day with the bat delivering a two-run double in the sixth inning, as the Phillies beat the Mets 6-0. Also delivering a key hit was Johnny Callison who led off the sixth inning with a home run. A month later, Callison would return to Shea Stadium and hit a Walk Off Home Run in the All-Star Game to lead the National League to a 7-4 win.

The Perfect Game was the first in the regular season since Charlie Robertson of the Chicago White Sox blanked the Detroit Tigers 2-0 on April 30, 1922. It was the first Perfect Game in the National League since 1880, when two were thrown in a five-day period. The first one was thrown by Lee Richmond of the Worcester Worcesters who blanked the Cleveland Blues 1-0 on June 12th, with John Montgomery Ward of the Providence Grays blanking the Buffalo Bisons five days later.

The day was especially satisfying for Jim Bunning who had one of his daughters and his wife in the crowd at Shea Stadium to see him pitch on Father’s Day. Finishing the game strong, Bunning struck out the last two hitters and six of nine batters. Besides Jim Bunning becoming the second pitcher to toss a No Hitter in each league, his battery mate Gus Triandos, who caught a Hoyt Wilhlem no hitter with the Baltimore Orioles in 1958 became the first catcher to backstop a no hitter in each league.

With the win Jim Bunning improved to 7-2 on the season. He would go on to have one of the best seasons of his career, posting a record of 19-8 with a 2.63 ERA and 219 strikeouts. Bunning who played 17 seasons, winning 224 games would be elected to the Hall of Fame by the Veteran’s Committee in 1996. After his career ended, Jim Bunning went into politics, representing Kentucky in the House of Representatives for 12 years, before spending another 12 years in the Senate before retiring in 2010. Jim Bunning, passed away May 26, 2017 he was 85 years old.