After photographing Billy Hatcher for Major League Baseball, I was honored to be asked to photograph Tom Browning for the All-Star game program. Tom is best known for pitching a perfect game. He is known among the names of Cy Young, Sandy Koufax and Catfish Hunter. Yes, Catfish Hunter. A side note – Catfish Hunter is a person and not a red-neck reality TV show. In the history of Major League Baseball’s 135 year history, which is over 200,000 games played, only 23 pitchers have pitched a perfect game. That’s quite a history. That’s less than .000115% of all games… Sorry, baseball is the game of statistics. I had to throw out some random percentage.
Tom is now a pitching coach for the Dragons, the Dayton Ohio Minor League team, so the shoot was scheduled around the team’s travel and game times. Our only available date ended up on an afternoon, after I was returning from a program in Boston. It was tight, but I came straight from the airport, to photograph Tom at the Dragon’s stadium. My assistant met me there and we made our way onto the field. The day was overcast, but no possibility of rain. MLB had asked to photograph Tom on the field in a heroic pose, so I set up a profoto strobe on the third base line to light Tom, to allow the background to go darker, giving that dramatic emphasis on the hero.
Tom showed up in street clothes, as requested and he was such a nice guy. Unassuming and genuine. He was quiet, but open to talking. Tom admitted that he was honored to be featured in the All-Star program and he was the perfect model. We photographed him in his Dragons uniform too, which made for a nice option. He gave us all the time needed and left us with a great memory. Thanks Tom. It was an honor meeting you.