Browning lauds Bailey on joining Reds' no-hit club
Lefty, perfect in '88, had been last Cincinnati hurler to achieve feat
PITTSBURGH -- As Homer Bailey was putting the finishing touches on his no-hitter against the Pirates on Friday night, the last Reds pitcher to achieve the feat for the franchise watched from his home in northern Kentucky.
Former Reds left-hander Tom Browning threw a perfect game against the Dodgers on Sept. 16, 1988, at Riverfront Stadium. Like Bailey's result over Pittsburgh, Browning won by a narrow 1-0 score over Los Angeles.
"He looked awesome," Browning told MLB.com by phone Saturday while watching his grandson play a basketball game.
Browning, now 52 and the pitching coach for the Reds' Class A Dayton affiliate, nearly missed Bailey's effort.
"I watched the last two or three innings," Browning said. "I hadn't been paying attention until after I put my grandson to bed. Then I heard that the Pirates didn't have a hit."
Bailey walked one and struck out 10 as he notched the first no-hitter of his career and tied a Major League record with the seventh in baseball this season. It was the 15th no-hitter in Reds history.
"Homer was playing good 'ol country hardball," Browning said. "He was throwing it right by them. Everything was up, but they were swinging."
As Bailey returned for the bottom of the ninth, Browning was one of the few television viewers of the game who could completely understand the emotions the right-hander was feeling on the mound.
"I'm sure he was nervous as hell," Browning said. "I was. Outside, you look cool, calm and collected but inside, you're going crazy."
Bailey got Alex Presley to pop out to shallow center field to secure his no-hitter. Browning, who had a 123-90 record and 3.94 ERA during his 12-year Major League career, has been coaching in some capacity for the Reds organization since 2007 -- Bailey's first year in the big leagues.
The two have crossed paths, sometimes in Spring Training, and early in Bailey's career, the fall instructional leagues.
"Early on, a lot of guys were trying to help him," Browning said. "What great advances he's made in the last year and a half.
"He was a No. 1 pick and everybody expected him to be a No. 1 guy. Now we have three that can be No. 1 guys with [Johnny] Cueto, [Mat] Latos and Homer."