Diagnosing Bunning

Last week The New York Times ran an article about how the Republican Party is trying to derail Jim Bunning’s potential 2010 reelection campaign. Seems Bunning has become a cranky loose cannon, and even in the presumably safe state of Kentucky, his record, behavior, and temperament have folks worried that he’ll lose.

As all hacky armchair psychologists know — and I’m one of the hackiest armchair psychologists around — you have to look to one’s formative years to get to the root of their neurosis. Someone at the Santa Rosa Press-Democrat has done that with Bunning:

Republican movers and shakers are pressuring Hall of Fame pitcher Jim Bunning of Kentucky not to run for a third term in the U.S. Senate. It’s been reported that his “cranky” and “cantankerous” moods are alienating party bigwigs. But it’s his baseball career that’s made Bunning a grouch.

Maybe Bunning is grouchy because he never played in a World Series — even though he was a key part of the 1961 Detroit Tigers, who won 101 games, and the 1964 Philadelphia Phillies, who had a six and a half game lead with 12 games left.

Maybe Bunning is grouchy because despite winning 224 games and throwing two no-hitters, including a perfect game, he had to wait 25 years after his retirement to get into the Hall of Fame.

Maybe Bunning is grouchy because was a four-time 19-game winner instead of a five-time 20-game winner.

Or maybe Bunning is grouchy because he led the NL four times in hit batsmen, and you don’t excel in something like that unless you’re … well, cranky and cantankerous by nature.

I suppose we have no choice but to blame Gene Mauch for all of this.

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  1. themarksmith said...

    It could also be because most think he has dementia or the early stages of alzheimer’s. The man’s nuts. I was 12 the first time I met, and I thought he was nuts then. I met him again when I was 18 while with a group of 18 year olds from Kentucky, and he didn’t even stop to say more than hello in a grouchy manner. We were potential voters, and he still acted that way towards us!

  2. Detroit Michael said...

    If he is objective about this own career fortunes (and most of us are not of course), then he should be glad he caught a bit of a break to be in the Hall of Fame.  The rules for which somewhat recent players the Veterans Committee could vote in were very restrictive at the time so Bunning had very little competition at the time he was voted in.  More objectively, he’s in the gray area where plenty of guys with similar career accomplishments don’t make it into the Hall of Fame.

  3. Richard Gadsden said...

    I think we blame Sean Forman for making it too easy for idiot writers to get baseball player’s stats for a story about a politician.

  4. Chris Kash said...

    Unfortunately we have to blame the good folks of my native state of Kentucky.

    The Senate race he ran in 2004 was a travesty and he still won.

  5. Chip said...

    While we’re speculating, could it be that his shoes were too tight, or that his head wasn’t screwed on quite right?

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