From SABR member Peter Dreier at the Huffington Post on June 1, 2017:
Jim Bunning, the former major league baseball star and U.S. Senator who died last week at age 85, was a union leader before he entered politics. In the 1960s, when team owners controlled almost every aspect of players’ lives, Bunning was a fighter for baseball players’ rights and a driving force in challenging management’s prerogatives. From almost the start of his major league career, Bunning was active with the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA), serving as the American League player pension representative and as a member of the union’s executive board for many years. By helping recruit Marvin Miller, the MLBPA’s first full-time executive director, Bunning helped transform a weak organization into what is now the most powerful labor union in the country.
But you would hardly know that aspect of Bunning’s career from the obituaries that appeared in the media after his death. The stories focused on his outstanding pitching career from 1955 to 1971, his 224 wins and two no-hitters (including a perfect game on June 21, 1964), his 2,855 career strikeouts (which put him in second place on the all-time list at the time of his retirement, behind only Walter Johnson), his induction into the National Baseball Hall of Fame, and his post-baseball political career.
Read the full article here: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/59315995e4b0649fff211803
- Read the SABR biography of Jim Bunning, by Ralph Berger (SABR BioProject)
- Read “Marvin Miller and the Birth of the MLBPA,” by Michael Haupert (Baseball Research Journal, Spring 2017)
Originally published: June 2, 2017. Last Updated: June 2, 2017.