Former Cincinnati Reds pitcher Tom Browning, Mr. Perfect, dies at age 62

Tom Browning, the author of the only perfect game in Cincinnati Reds history, passed away Monday at age 62, according to the Boone County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies were sent to Browning’s home in Union, Kentucky after he was found unconscious on his couch. Browning was pronounced dead at 1:13 p.m. No foul play is suspected, according to the Sheriff’s Office.

“The entire Reds family is stunned and deeply saddened to hear of the passing of Tom Browning,” the Reds said in a statement. “We join Reds Country in mourning the loss of one of our all-time greats who created so many memories and magical moments for all of us. Our deepest condolences to Tom’s family at this difficult time.”

Comments:Death of Tom Browning: “All he was about was about the Reds and baseball.”

Tom Browning:Reminder of the famous in-game visit to the Wrigley Roof

Top games in Reds history:No. 28 – Tom Browning’s perfect game against the Dodgers

Reds pitcher Tom Browning delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the Reds' 3–2 victory over the Padres on May 9, 1994 in San Diego.

Reds pitcher Tom Browning delivers a pitch in the fifth inning of the Reds’ 3–2 victory over the Padres on May 9, 1994 in San Diego.

Browning pitched 12 seasons in the Major Leagues, including 11 with the Reds, and helped the franchise to a World Series title in 1990. He was runner-up for National League Rookie of the Year in 1985 and finished sixth in the Cy Young voting after he posted a 20-9 record and a 3.55 ERA in his first full season.

The 6-foot-1 lefty pitched one of 23 perfect games in MLB history in a 1-0 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers on September 16, 1988 at Riverfront Stadium. It took him an hour and 51 minutes to make history, which was less time than a two-hour pregame rain delay forced him to wait. Browning’s perfect game, the first in the National League since Sandy Koufax in 1965, came a few months after he lost a no-hit bid in the ninth inning against the San Diego Padres.

“This is exciting,” third baseman Chris Sabo told reporters afterwards. “We are all little boys at heart. This is what dreams are made of and he got his dream last night.”

The Reds sweep pitcher Tom Browning off his feet after striking out Tracy Woodson of the Dodgers before the Finals in his 1-0 perfect game on September 16, 1988.

The Reds sweep pitcher Tom Browning off his feet after striking out Tracy Woodson of the Dodgers before the Finals in his 1-0 perfect game on September 16, 1988.

One of Browning’s most memorable moments in a Reds uniform took place outside a baseball stadium. Sitting on a Wrigley Field rooftop during a game on July 7, 1993, Browning snuck out of the bullpen and walked down the street in full uniform. He was fined $500 for the stunt.

Browning completed his Reds career with a 123–88 record, 12th in franchise history in wins, and a 3.92 ERA over 300 appearances (298 starts). He made three postseason starts during the Reds’ 1990 title run, including Game 3 of the World Series, an 8–3 victory over the Oakland A’s. Browning famously left the stadium during Game 2 of the World Series when his wife went into labor with one of their five children and he didn’t tell manager Lou Piniella. The Reds issued a radio bulletin asking him to return to the ballpark as the game went into overtime.

He was inducted into the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.

Tom Browning tips his hat to fans during the Reds Hall of Fame Class of 2012 ceremonies.

Tom Browning tips his hat to fans during the Reds Hall of Fame Class of 2012 ceremonies.

“RIP, my friend, Mr. Perfect, Tom Browning,” Reds Hall of Fame shortstop Barry Larkin wrote on Twitter. “We shared some great times as well as the same birth date 4/28. You will be missed.”

Longtime Reds catcher Tucker Barnhart tweeted, “This hurts. Bad one.”

After his retirement, Browning remained a fixture at annual Reds events such as Redsfest, the team’s caravan tour, and Reds Community Fund activities. He was the first full-time manager of the Florence Freedom, an independent league team, in 2003 and 2004.

His wife, Debbie Browning, died on March 23.

Tom Browning pleaded guilty in Brown County Municipal Court on Dec. 14 to a charge of drunk driving, according to court documents. The judge suspended all but three 180-day prison sentences, court records show.

Born in Casper, Wyoming, Browning was a 1982 ninth-round draft pick from Tennessee Wesleyan University. He led the league in games starting four seasons into his career, surpassing 225 innings six times. He broke a bone in his arm during a game in 1994 and then pitched in only two games.

This article originally appeared on Cincinnati Enquirer: Tom Browning, former Reds pitcher with perfect game, dies at age 62

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