Tuesday, June 19, 2001
Updated: June 16, 4:08 PM ET
Perfect Father's Day for Phillies' Bunning Star
By Larry Schwartz
Special to ESPN.com
June 21, 1964
On Father's Day, Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Jim Bunning finds the Mets perfect victims as he becomes the first National Leaguer this century to throw a perfect game. He also is the first to pitch no-hitters in both the National and American Leagues.
Bunning's perfecto is aided by a brilliant fielding play by second baseman Tony Taylor, who makes a diving stop of Jesse Gonder's drive into the hole and throws out Gonder in the fifth inning of the 6-0 victory in the first game of a doubleheader.
The Mets hit only four balls into the outfield off Bunning, who goes to three balls on just two batters. He strikes out 10, including pinch-hitter John Stephenson for the final out as the crowd of 32,026 at Shea Stadium gives him a standing ovation. "I knew I had a no-hitter after the fifth inning and you hate to blow one of those things," says Bunning, who pitched one for the Detroit Tigers in 1958.
Bunning's perfect game is the first in the regular season in 42 years, since Charley Robertson of the Chicago White Sox pitched one in 1922. (The Yankees' Don Larsen hurled one in the 1956 World Series).