Tom Browning, the Casper native who went on to pitch the Cincinnati Reds’ only perfect game, died at his home in Union, Kentucky on Monday at the age of 62.
Authorities say Browning was found dead on his couch on Monday afternoon and no foul play is expected.
Browning was born in Casper and lived there until he moved away in eighth grade.
Childhood friend Ron Franscell remembered him as a regular kid.
“He played with us on long summer days in the sandlot, where we all dreamed of the big leagues . . . but only he went there,” Franscell wrote on his Facebook page.
Franscell said Browning never changed. Even when he achieved stardom in his 12 year career in Major League Baseball.
“He was still just Tommy from the sandlot, and I’m sure that at the end, he’d never changed,” he said.
Franscell recalled talking to Browning in the Reds’ locker room two days after he pitched the perfect game.
“He signed a ball for me and introduced me to Pete Rose and we talked a long while,” he said.
Perfect Game, Great Career
Browning’s perfect game against the Los Angeles Dodgers in 1988 — the first perfect game in 23 years — was the high point of his career but not the only highlight.
Browning won 20 games in 1985, won Game 3 of the 1990 World Series team as they swept the Oakland A’s, was an All-Star in 1991, and led the National League in starts four times.
As a result, he was inducted in to the Reds’ Hall of Fame in 2006.
Browning played for the Reds from 1984 – 1994 and played an additional two years with the Kansas City Royals.
Trouble With The Law
Browning made the news on Wednesday when he pled guilty to operating a vehicle under the influence last August in Georgetown, Ohio.
Authorities say Browning drove his vehicle into a light pole and a tree before crashing into a house.
Browning was sentenced to 180 days in jail but the judge suspended 177 of them.
Browning is the second high profile sports figure from Wyoming to die in the last week.
Mississippi State college football coach Mike Leach, who moved to Cody as a child and considered Cody his hometown, died on December 12, 2022.
Leach, a two-time national coach of the year, came back to Wyoming often and served as the honorary marshal for the town’s Fourth of July parade in 2022.