Classic card of the week

Tom Browning, 1989 Fleer, Superstar Specials

Here is a little-known fact about perfect games—they are perfect. Don’t believe me? Let’s take a look:


Instead of “picture perfect.” Because Tom Browning pitched a perfect game. Tom Browning is a pitcher.


That would be my lede if I were in second grade and writing a current event about Tom Browning’s perfect game. It would have read in full:

Tom Browning pitched a perfect baseball game on Sept. 16, 1988! It was nice. I saw the highlights on TV with Daddy. I want to play baseball when I am older and pitch like Tom Browning and pitch a perfect game every day! Or a scientist. The end.

Ed. note: each “s” should be backwards, but there is no key for that. Also, the title would have been "Perfect!" Anyway, back to the perfectness:

That was Tom Browning in 1988 when he defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 1-0, before his Cincinnati Reds fans, with a perfect game … no hits, no walks, no Dodgers base runners … nothing.

So that’s what a perfect game is. Just to be sure, I looked up “perfect game” in the official Major League Baseball glossary of terms, and it defines perfect game as, “n. No hits, no walks, no Dodgers base runners … nothing.” So it is true that Tom Browning pitched a perfect game.

Ironically, the last perfect game in the National League was thrown by a Dodgers pitcher, Sandy Koufax, in 1965

What irony that one Dodger threw a perfect game once, and then 23 years later that same Dodger team—except completely different—fell victim to a perfect game. I tell ya’ … baseball.

“I knew I had a no-hitter going into the eighth inning,” Browning said after the game.

It’s that kind of awareness that made Tom Browning such a special pitcher. Most pitchers who pitch no-hitters don’t realize it until the next day when they are perusing the box score over a bowl of Fruity Pebbles. Also, another thing that Tom Browning had going into the eighth inning was a perfect game. Somebody should tell him.

“I just kept talking to myself, saying what I need to do … to maintain my composure, to move the ball in and out.”
He did that all game long, and he did it perfectly.

Tom Browning pitched a perfect game, perfectly, and with perfection. I feel like the perfectness of this feat is not being driven home.

However, the excitement of this tremendous feat hit its highest peak when he faced the 27th—and last—batter

Everything I have been reading thus far has implied that the excitement of Tom Browning’s perfect game reached its nirvana when he faced his 12th batter. I am glad that this card has specified that is not the case. No—the most exciting part of Tom Browning’s perfect game occurred when he actually pitched a perfect game. Amazing. And … perfect.

Not so perfect? Not paying child support. But hey, “Pitcher perfect” is a better title than “Father perfect” anyway.

Did you know?
In 1997, a sitcom pilot aired on CBS called "Father Perfect." It starred Tom Berenger as a down-on-his-luck single guy who was also a father (!!!). The joke was that he was not actually perfect. It featured the catch phrase, "Who farted? Daaaaaad!" It did not get picked up.


Bill said…
Alternate lede:

"Tom Browning knows a thing or two about perfection."
Joe S. said…
I read this with a sore throat and bad cough, and laughing is making it so much worse.

Thanks for nothing.