Ex-Athletics SP Dallas Braden Says He Was Hungover for 2010 Perfect Game

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistMay 6, 2020

Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Dallas Braden celebrates after throwing a perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays during a baseball game in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, May 9, 2010. Oakland won 4-0. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

The next time anyone tells you athletes have to be in peak form to achieve greatness, let former MLB pitcher Dallas Braden tell you the story of his perfect game with the Oakland Athletics.  

Speaking to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle, Braden said he pitched that day with a "raging, skull-rattling hangover" after drinking the night before. 

"There are things you don't do," he explained. "Partaking in libations or adult beverages, that was something I never did before a day game. The night before Mother's Day, though, I did. We were getting after it a little bit."

May 9 will mark the 10th anniversary of Braden's perfect game against the Tampa Bay Rays. It was also Mother's Day, a date that Slusser noted is difficult for Braden because his mom, Jodie Atwood, died when he was in high school. 

"Until that day, I had never treated a start or the day before a start the way I did that day," Braden said. "It's not like I was telling myself, 'Let's get crushed and tomorrow will be awesome.' It was more like, 'Let's just forget about tomorrow.'"

Braden told Slusser that his grandmother, Peggy Lindsey, stopped at his house to check on his dogs before the game. 

"She walked in, saw the aftermath of the night before and saw I was still in bed," he said. "She knew, though, you're not talking to me at all the day I'm startingshe knew the drill. So she just got back in the car. She was in Oakland before I left the house, she was at the Coliseum before I'd gotten out of bed."

Though a few people noticed Braden showed up to the ballpark later than usual, most didn't know what was going on. Pitching coach Curt Young said he had no idea until he was contacted by Slusser about the story.

"Oh my gosh, that's the kind of stuff you're glad you don't know at the time," Young said. "I'm not looking for that kind of stuff and didn't really see anything like that."

In the first six starts of the 2010 season, Braden had a 4.14 ERA and 1.19 WHIP. He had never thrown a complete game in 52 career starts up to that point. 

Braden proceeded to shut down the Rays, who entered the game with an MLB-best 22-8 record, for nine innings. The Arizona native struck out six and needed 109 pitches to throw the second perfect game in A's history.