By Paul Kurtz
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Hall of Famer Jim Bunning was honored at Sunday’s Phillies game on the 50th anniversary of his Father’s Day perfect game. The New York Mets were his victims. But Bunning came close to pulling off the same feat earlier in the 1964 season.
Baseball players are a superstitious lot. When a pitcher is throwing a no-hitter, the unwritten dugout rule is leave him alone and don’t say a word. That’s exactly what the team did on May 29th, 1964. Facing the Houston Colt 45’s, Jim Bunning set down 20 batters in a row before a journeyman named Mike White broke up the perfect game with a double.
“After the first hit I fell apart. I lost the lead,” Bunning said. “And it was all because of the tension that had built up on the bench. And I said if I ever get in that situation again, I’m going to talk about it and scream about it.”
He got another chance three weeks later at Shea Stadium, facing the Mets.
“After the 5th inning,” Bunning said, “I came in and said to the guys, ‘hey guys it’s perfect so far, let’s keep it that way.'”
And how did his teammates react?
“Well, they ran from me. All of them,” Bunning said. “They ran like heck. Triandos, who did the catching said, ‘you’re nuts. Shut up.'”
Bunning’s perfecto was the first in the National League in more than 80 years.
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