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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bunning, Weaver Elected to Hall of Fame

TAMPA, Florida -- Jim Bunning, the hard-throwing, hard-luck pitcher who won more than 100 games, pitched a no-hitter and struck out more than 1,000 batters in each league, and Earl Weaver, the fiery Baltimore Orioles manager whose only losing season was his 17th and last, were elected by the Veterans Committee to the Baseball Hall of Fame.


Also elected Tuesday were pitcher Bill Foster in the Negro League category and Ned Hanlon in the 19th Century category.


Bunning, whose wonderful career spent mostly with the Detroit Tigers and Philadelphia Phillies was marked by near misses, was praised by his Phillies first baseman and Veterans Committee chairman Bill White as "a competitor ... and just a hell of a pitcher."


Bunning, who went 224-184, winning 20 games just once but 19 games four times, said he was so frustrated by a poor showing in his first year of eligibility (1976) with the writers that he considered taking his name off the ballot.


On Tuesday, Bunning also expressed unhappiness about the 1988 election, when nine baseball writers mailed in blank ballots and he missed election by four votes.


The elections of Bunning and Weaver should guarantee a well-attended induction weekend at Cooperstown, New York, after concern was created when the writers failed to elect a player for the first time in 25 years.


In the player category (only one in each category could be elected), Bunning beat out Chicago White Sox second baseman Nellie Fox, Boston Red Sox outfielder Dominic DiMaggio and Cleveland Indians outfielder Larry Doby. Leonard Koppett, a Veterans Committee member, said Gil Hodges and Roger Maris also were debated this year.


Bunning, a Republican in his fifth term as a Kentucky congressman, was honored on the floor by delegations from Michigan and Pennsylvania. He said he had not decided which team he would honor in the Hall, although memorable seasons in Philadelphia, including the 1964 collapse when he and Chris Short pitched on two days' rest and the Phillies lost 10 straight to blow a six-game lead to the St. Louis Cardinals, might suggest he would choose them.


Bunning, a father of nine and grandfather of 28, is remembered for his perfect game on Father's Day, 1964, against the New York Mets. His candidacy was pushed by Philadelphia sportswriter Allen Lewis, a committee member who pointed out that Bunning won as many games as Catfish Hunter and more than Don Drysdale without benefit of pitching for a pennant winner.


Because he waited so long to get in, Bunning, 64, said, "I appreciate it more, and look at it in a different light."


Weaver, 65, said he was elated when his wife, Marianna, drove a golf cart onto the ninth hole of a Florida course to tell him the news. Weaver said, "My knees got weak, my body got weak and I could barely hold a club."


That would not surprise his former boss with the Orioles, Hank Peters. He said of Weaver, who spent 20 years in the minors, "he's got a big ego, but he's a very humble guy. He knows where he came from. He came from modest circumstances."


Weaver wondered whether his volatile nature and 91 ejections might keep him out. He said his mother, Ethel, used to tell him before every game, "please don't get thrown out of the game tonight."


Weaver, 1,480-1,060 lifetime, said yesterday of his record number of ejections: "I don't know if it helped me or hurt me. Probably it hurt me. I've never been proud of any of these moments."


The left-handed Foster went 137-62 for the Chicago American Giants, Homestead Grays and Pittsburgh Crawfords from 1923-37. He died in 1978.


Hanlon, who, like Weaver, won three straight pennants for Baltimore, was 1,315-1,164 with Pittsburgh, Baltimore, Brooklyn and Cincinnati from 1889-1907 and is recalled as John McGraw's mentor and the innovator who popularized the hit-and-run and the use of signals. He died in 1937.