Is that a pitcher on the roof?

December 20th, 2022

Tom Browning pitched 12 years in the big leagues and might be best known for throwing a perfect game in 1988. But something he did on a day he didn't even pitch might be a close second.

On July 7, 1993, the Reds were visiting the Cubs at Wrigley Field when Browning decided he wanted to watch the game from a different vantagepoint than the dugout. So he left the stadium and went across the street, where he was welcomed atop one of the houses on Sheffield Ave.

Browning could be seen sitting on the rooftop railing and waving as he took in the Reds' 4-3 victory. Years later, Browning shared a story of an interaction with a fan with Cincinnati TV station WCPO.

"She said, ‘What are you doing over here?'" Browning recalled. "I said, ‘I just wanted to see what it was like to see a ballgame.’

“She goes, 'That's so cool. Do you want a beer and a brat?’ and I said, ‘Nope, I'm already in trouble.’”

That trouble ended up being a fine from manager Davey Johnson. Reports vary on whether it was for $500 or $1,000. Browning said he was only gone one inning and that he took the punishment in stride.

“He had to act like he was mad because I left the stadium in my uniform, which was the only thing I really did wrong,” Browning told WCPO. “I just said, ‘Hey, man, it’s OK.’"

Reds left fielder Kevin Mitchell homered twice during the game, and he told Hal McCoy of the Dayton Daily News that after one homer, he saw someone in a Reds jersey waving at him from across the street. It wasn't until he returned to the dugout that he discovered it was his teammate.

"I'm glad I didn't see him before I batted because I was laughing so hard I couldn't have hit," Mitchell said. "I thought it was great. It loosens everybody up."