Cincinnati Reds to Pay Tribute to Pitcher Tom Browning During Radio Show Tuesday

Browning, who pitched a perfect game for the Reds in 1988, died Dec. 19.

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click to enlarge Tom Browning pitches for the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium in 1991. - Photo: Rick Dikeman, Wikimedia Commons
Photo: Rick Dikeman, Wikimedia Commons
Tom Browning pitches for the Cincinnati Reds at Riverfront Stadium in 1991.

"Mr. Perfect" is getting a final curtain call from the Cincinnati Reds.

Former starting pitcher Tom Browning – known as "Mr. Perfect," thanks to his memorable perfect game in 1988 – died at his home on Dec. 19, according to the Boone County sheriff's office. Deputies had responded to a call about a man at Browning's address not breathing, but the man could not be revived, a Twitter post from the agency says. The man, later identified as Browning himself, died at 1:13 p.m. with no foul play suspected. Browning was 62. On the evening Browning died, the Reds shared a statement about his time on the team:
The entire Reds family is stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Browning.

Affectionately referred to as “Mr. Perfect,” Tom was a true Red who after his playing days made the Cincinnati area his home and remained heavily involved with the organization.

A fan favorite, the Reds Hall of Famer touched fans’ hearts at team events, Reds Hall of Fame festivities and Reds Community Fund activities.

We join Reds Country in mourning the loss of one our all-time greats, who created so many memories and magical moments for us all. Our deepest condolences to Tom’s family during this difficult time.
In August, Browning was arrested for operating a vehicle under the influence of alcohol after falling asleep and crashing his car into a house. His blood alcohol level was .127, according to reports.

Browning had been scheduled to launch legal sports betting in Ohio on New Year's Eve with other sports celebrities – including Pete Rose – at Hard Rock Sportsbook, the Hard Rock Casino Cincinnati's new betting facility

Tom Browning's perfect game

The Reds drafted Browning in 1982, and he rose through the minor leagues as a strikeout machine with a nasty screwball. When he moved up to the majors in 1984, he pitched 8 2/3 innings and gave up only one run in his first game. He went 20-9 in his first full MLB season in 1985, the first rookie to do so since 1954.

Browning spent most of 12 seasons with the Reds in the '80s and early '90s, notching double-digit win records for most of them with a 3.94 career ERA, 1,000 strikeouts and a 1990 World Series championship.

But one of the lefty's most memorable moments came on Sept. 16, 1988, when Browning pitched a perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers at Riverfront Stadium – the first lefty to do so since Sandy Koufax in 1965 [a perfect game is a complete game in which nine or more innings are thrown with no opposing batter getting a hit or reaching base] . Browning threw 102 pitches – 70 of them strikes –during the game, which started around 10 p.m. thanks to a rain delay. It was just the 12th perfect game in MLB history.

Browning had another no-hitter going against the Philadelphia Phillies on July 4, 1989, but a Philadelphia double in the ninth inning broke up the effort.

Browning sustained injuries during his later seasons with the Reds, with his arm and shoulder separating while delivering a pitch in 1994. He moved to the Kansas City Royals in 1995 before retiring. Browning was inducted into the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame in 2006 and had served as a pitching coach for several minor-league teams, including the Dayton Dragons.

A radio tribute

The Cincinnati Reds will celebrate Browning's achievements as a Red during the Dec. 20 episode of the Hot Stove League radio show on 700 WLW-AM. Tommy Thrall and Jim Day will host, with former shortstop and current broadcaster Barry Larkin, former announcer Marty Brennaman and former catcher Joe Oliver joining the show.

Larkin had scored the sole run during Browning's perfect game, while Oliver had knocked in the winning run during game two of the 1990 World Series.

The show will air 6-7 p.m. Dec. 20, with the Reds' website and Reds Radio Network stations carrying it in addition to WLW-AM.

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