September 18, 2012
Mister Perfect, Tom Browning named Grand Marshall of 2012 Oktoberfest Zinzinnati
Reds great Tom Browning will lead thousands of partyin’ poultry in the World’s Largest Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest.
The carousing will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 22 at historic Fountain Square in Downtown Zinzinnati.
Through his 11 years as a Cincinnati Red, Browning was durable workhorse of a pitcher. He led the league in starts four times and pitched more than 200 innings in six different seasons.
He was a member of the 1991 All-Star team and the 1990 World Champion Reds. He joined the Reds Hall of Fame in 2006.
In 1985, he put together one of the greatest rookie seasons ever enjoyed by a Major League pitcher. His 20 wins were the most by a rookie since 1954 and the most by a Reds rookie since 1899.
But despite his stellar career, it was one night that will live forever in Reds lore. On Sept. 16, 1988 at Riverfront Stadium, Browning pitched the 13th perfect game in baseball history and the first in the history of baseball's oldest professional team. Browning threw 72 of 100 pitches for strikes and did not run the count to three balls on a single batter. Browning remains the only Red to pitch a perfect game.
Browning's ability to inject levity into the game also remains one of his most endearing qualities — including when he snuck out of the Reds dugout and worked his way to one of the rooftops that overlook Wrigley Field in full uniform.
Browning is the third Red to lead the Chicken Dance, joining Joe Morgan and Joe Nuxhall. The Ol’Left Hander led a rousing rendition in 2007 and “Little Joe” led the Chicken Dance last year. When asked of Morgan’s dance, fellow Reds great and Baseball Hall of Famer Johnny Bench said tongue in cheek, “Joe just set the Big Red Machine back 20 years.”
Browning joins an all-star cast of celebrities who have served as the grand marshal of Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati. In 1994, the Crown Prince of Bavaria attended Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati and helped the event set a world record for the World’s Largest Chicken Dance, with 48,000 participating according to the Guinness Book of Records.
In 1998 Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati tuned up to set a world record for the World’s Largest Musical Ensemble. The late, great trumpeter Al Hirt, a 1941 graduate of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music, returned to his musical roots to lead 25,000 in a magical interpretation of his trademark song, When The Saints Go Marching In.
In 1999, Grammy Award-winner Weird Al Yankovic led 30,000 on kazoo in a rendition of the Chicken Dance and Beer Barrel Polka. The event was featured on CNN Headline News and VH1’s “Rock-n-Roll Record-breakers.” And in 2000, The Monkees’ Davy Jones provided a goose-bump moment leading the World’s Largest Chicken Dance and a rendition of Daydream Believer.
In 2001, Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati was postponed due to the attack on America on Sept. 11. A week following, American patriot and singer Tony Orlando led a throng on Fountain Square in inspiring renditions of Tie A Yellow Ribbon ’Round The Old Oak Tree and America. In 2002, Verne Troyer, a.k.a. Mini Me, cast a big shadow leading the Chicken Dance. Vince Neil, lead vocalist for the legendary rock group Mötley Crüe, led the 2004 World’s Largest Chicken Dance, an event so surreal VH1 named it the “Least Metal Moment” in the history of rock ‘n’ roll.
Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati showcases the rich German heritage of Zinzinnati USA. More than half-a-million herren und frauen will converge on a six-block area to eat, sing, mingle, sport lederhosen, listen to polka music, try to speak German and perform the Chicken Dance.
Oktoberfest-Zinzinnati USA, presented by Samuel Adams, is the largest Oktoberfest celebration in the country and the second largest in the world. Known as America’s Oktoberfest, the event will be held Saturday, Sept. 22 and Sunday, Sept. 23, with a sneak peak on Friday, Sept. 21, along six blocks of Fifth Street in Downtown Zinzinnati. Hours are 11 a.m. to midnight on Saturday and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday. Admission is free. For more information, visit OktoberfestZinzinnati.com, our fan page on Facebook or follow tweets @CincinnatiParty or using the #zinzinnati hashtag.