A ‘no’ vote on the proposed automaker bailout by Kentucky senator and former Tiger Jim Bunning didn’t sit well with the promoter of the Gibralter Trade Center show who gave him the boot from this weekend’s show.
Jim Bunning threw a no-hitter for the Detroit Tigers during his long major league career but he is now persona non grata in southeast Michigan after he voted against a proposed bailout of the big three American automakers as a member of the United States Senate.
Immediately after learning of Bunning’s vote late Thursday, Jim Koester, President and Founder of Gibraltar Trade Center cancelled the contract between for a paid autograph appearance that was scheduled Sunday.
“Being a business owner in Michigan for over 30 years, I simply cannot support anyone who, in my opinion, votes against the economic well being of our great state.” said Koester. “The contract between us and Mr. Bunning was signed well in advance of the auto vote.”
The Gibralter Trade Center show is one of the longest running events in the sports memorabilia industry, operating at a couple of different locations in the Detroit suburbs each month. This weekend’s show was in Taylor, Michigan and the mayor of the city said he supported the action.
“Shame on Bunning and people like him who are unwilling to support America, our auto industry and our auto workers,” Mayor Cameron Priebe said. “Bunning obviously does not understand the importance of jobs in our economy. If the auto industry fails, it will be catastrophic for the Detroit and Michigan economy and will put America into a depression. Even more dangerous is what it does to our industrial capabilities and our ability to defend our nation in the event of war.”
On Thursday, prior to Bunning’s cancellation, the mayor suggested he was “going to call the UAW and see if I can’t arrange for 5,000 of his biggest fans to be there when he arrives” at the show.
Bunning pitched for the Detroit Tigers for eight seasons before a trade to Philadelphia. Autograph ticket prices ranged from $35 to $55, depending on the item.
The Senate blocked passage of a $14 billion auto manufacturer bailout measure. The bailout would have offered loans to the Big Three automakers: General Motors Corp, Ford Motor Co. and Chrysler LLC. A procedural vote to consider the bailout did not get the required 60 votes to move forward. The vote went 52-35.
Bunning said he supports government help for the automakers, but not the plan that was proposed this week.
"As I have said many times, simply throwing money at the problem is not the answer. Serious changes need to be made in the way the industry does business," said Bunning in a statement regarding the bill. "Unfortunately, the United Auto Workers were unwilling to make any significant concessions."
What Bunning items are going for on eBay