Tom Browning, Who Pitched a Perfect Game for the Reds, Dies at 62
Tom Browning, an All-Star pitcher who threw the only perfect game in Cincinnati Reds history and helped the team win a World Series title, died on Monday at his home in Union, Ky. He was 62.
The Boone County Sheriff’s Office announced the death on Twitter. No cause was given.
Sheriff’s deputies responded to Browning’s home after receiving a report of a man found not breathing. They discovered him unresponsive on a couch, and efforts by deputies and Emergency Medical Services personnel to resuscitate him were unsuccessful. The sheriff’s office said foul play was not suspected.
Browning was known not just as a skilled left-handed pitcher but also as a colorful character. He once bolted from the Wrigley Field bullpen and sat in full Cincinnati uniform with Chicago Cub fans atop a rooftop across the street during a Reds-Cubs game in July 1993. He was fined $500 for that stunt, according to The Cincinnati Enquirer.
His biggest individual moment on the mound came when he retired all 27 batters he faced in a 1-0 victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium on Sept. 16, 1988. After a two-hour rain delay, the game started at 10:02 p.m. and took only an hour and 51 minutes. It came a little more than three months after Browning lost a no-hit bid in San Diego in the ninth inning on a one-out single by Tony Gwynn.
Browning’s gem against the Dodgers was one of just 23 perfect games in major league history and the only one for the Reds, baseball’s oldest professional franchise. A month later, the Dodgers won the World Series — making Browning the only pitcher to throw a perfect game against the team that won the championship that same year.
Browning went 20-9 with a 3.55 earned run average in 1985; he was the first rookie to win 20 games since Bob Grim of the Yankees in 1954. He finished second to the speedy St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Vince Coleman in the voting for National League Rookie of the Year and sixth for the league’s Cy Young Award.
Browning was 18-5 with a 3.41 E.R.A. in 1988, the year he pitched his perfect game; three years later he made the National League All-Star team, although he finished the season with only a 14-14 record.
He won at least 14 games six times in his career, led the league in starts on four occasions and pitched more than 225 innings six times. He also gave up the most home runs in the league three times.
Browning went 15-9 with a 3.80 E.R.A. in 1990 to help the Reds win their most recent pennant and World Series championship. He was 2-1 with a 3.71 ERA in three starts that postseason, beating the powerhouse Oakland Athletics 8-3 on the road in Game 3 of the World Series to help the Reds pull off a stunning four-game sweep.
After pitching 11 seasons for Cincinnati, from 1984 to 1994, Browning broke a bone in his arm during a game in 1994 and finished his career pitching two games for the Kansas City Royals in 1995. In 12 major league seasons, he was 123-90 with a 3.94 E.R.A. in 302 games, all but two of them starts.
Thomas Leo Browning was born on April 28, 1960, in Casper, Wyo. He played college baseball at Le Moyne College in Syracuse, N.Y., and was drafted by the Reds in 1982.
Information on survivors was not immediately available.