Father’s Day 1964: The two ‘Cubanos’ behind Bunning’s perfect game

We were still living in Cuba in June 1964. In fact, we were scheduled to leave in July. I learned about this Cuban connection many years later when I saw “the box score” information of this historic game.

On Father’s Day 1964, future Hall of Famer and US Senator Jim Bunning of the Phillies. threw a perfect game. Bunning won 227 games and made it to The Hall of Fame in 1996.

There is a Cuban connection to the game: Tony Taylor played second base and Cookie Rojas was the shortstop. Taylor scored 2 runs and both went 1 for 3 that day.

Octavio “Cookie” Rojas made his debut in 1962 and retired in 1977. His best season was 1965 when he hit .303 and made the NL All Star team. He was traded to Kansas City and remains one of the most popular Royals’ players ever. He was well known as a clutch hitter and had a great glove at second base. Rojas won a batting title in the Cuban winter league. His son Victor is a major league broadcaster.

Tony Taylor made his debut in 1958 & retired with 2,007 hits and a .261 career average. He was well known for his defense. His best season was 1963 when he hit .281, stole 23 bases and scored 102 runs. He stole over 20 bases several times in his career.

My guess is that this is the only time that a couple of Cubans played up the middle in a MLB perfect game.

Happy Father’s Day!

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