- Associated Press - Saturday, June 3, 2017

COVINGTON, Ky. (AP) - Hundreds of people have gathered to pay their respects for baseball legend and former U.S. Sen. Jim Bunning.

Bunning died May 26 at age 85. His funeral was Saturday at the Cathedral Basilica of the Assumption in Covington.

Before being elected to Congress, Bunning spent 17 years as a major league pitcher, mostly with the Detroit Tigers and the Philadelphia Phillies. He retired in 1971 after a career that included 224 victories, a no-hitter and a perfect game.

WLWT-TV reports hundreds of people attended Bunning’s funeral on Saturday morning, including U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his wife, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao.

Republican Kentucky state Sen. John Schickel remembered Bunning as “not the type of person you went to if you wanted to hear something that was sugar coated.”

“I used to say you hadn’t lived until he had chewed you out one time,” Schickel told WLWT. “He was a man’s man and he was honest. He was genuine, and those were the things I loved about him.”

Bunning served 12 years in the U.S. House of Representatives before being elected to two terms in the U.S. Senate. He did not run for re-election in 2010, blaming his GOP colleagues who he said had dried up his fundraising.

The father of nine children, Bunning left his mark on Kentucky politics by encouraging other Republicans to run for office. They included U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, who said Bunning encouraged him to run for office 20 years ago.

“That encouraged me I could run for office and still manage and have a great family, as is testimony to what we’re seeing here, this big, exuberant, loving family,” Guthrie told the Cincinnati Enquirer . “He was just a good man.”

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