Jim Bunning, the pitcher-turned-legislator who had a pair of high-profile careers on the national stage, has died at age 85.
Bunning’s son, David, tweeted Saturday morning that Heaven got its No 1 starter today. The Baseball Hall of Famer had suffered a stroke last October.
Bunning grew up in the Cincinnati area and signed with the Detroit Tigers out of Xavier University, eventually reaching the major leagues in 1955. The sidearming right-hander led the American League with 20 wins and 267 1/3 innings in 1957, his first full season in the big leagues, and threw his first no-hitter the following year.
By the time Bunning was voted into the Hall of Fame by the veterans’ committee in 1996, he already had served 10 years in the House of Representatives. He won a Senate seat in 1998 and represented Kentucky for 12 years before deciding not to seek reelection in 2010.
The Cubs have been moving the former Cincinnati Bearkat back to second base where he played in college. But after spending much of the last few years in the outfield, the transition back to the infield can take some time. And if he gets more time he gives the Cubs another utility option along the lines of a Ben Zobrist, or to a lesser extent, Kris Bryant.
Also if the Cubs do keep Happ up and they give Heyward most of the at bats, which they will, do they want to take away precious development time at the plate for Happ?
So do the Cubs think that keeping Happ up helps them win more now as a type of utility man off the bench, or do they send him back down to try to win more in the long run? That is the ultimate question.