Beach Day by Rodger Bliss
June 2024

20th Game Bonus

Lefty McDougal, star pitcher of the West Michigan Whitecaps, had an incentive clause in his contract that guaranteed him an extra million dollars if he won 20 games during the season.

So, it’s the last game of the season. Lefty has 19 victories, and is scheduled to be that day’s starting pitcher. The opponent is a lousy team—the Cedar Rapids Kernals. They’ve got a terrible record, and Lefty knows he’s going to get the bonus.

As luck would have it, an hour before the game his manager approaches him and says, “You ain’t starting, Lefty.”

Lefty asks, “Why not?”

The manager says, “The owner of the team came and said, ‘If you start this bum… if he throws even one pitch, you’re losing your job!'”

Lefty is dejected. He says, “Jeez, I was going buy a new house in the Hamptons with that money!”

Lefty is discouraged, and the manager is discouraged too, because he has great regard for Lefty. The manager wonders, “how can I get Lefty to win his 20th game and collect his bonus– and not throw a single pitch?”

And that’s what happens. Lefty wins the game without throwing a single pitch.

How did he do it?

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3 guesses to 20th Game Bonus

  • RiddleCracker

    The team is trailing in the late innings, two outs, runner on first. The manager pulls his pitcher and puts Lefty in. Before throwing a pitch, Lefty picks off the runner, third out, the inning over. When the team comes up to bat, they score enough to take the lead. Lefty is now the pitcher of record — the lead has been exchanged — and after the frame, he is subsequently relieved. The other guys in the bullpen hold the lead, they win, and Lefty gets the W despite no pitches thrown

  • Dude

    Correct RiddleCracker.

    Here’s how it works … and it really has happened, too.
    On July 7th, 2009, the Colorado Rockies played the Washington Nationals. The game was tied 4-4 when the Rockies brought in reliever Alan Embree.
    Embree entered the game against the Nationals with two out in the eighth, Austin Kearns the runner on first and the score tied at 4. Seconds later, the reliever was applying a tag to Kearns to end an odd rundown, which started with his pickoff throw.
    The Rockies scored in the bottom of the eighth and won, 5-4, which made Embree the first Major Leaguer in six years — and the second one in at least 23 years — to earn a win without throwing a pitch.

    You are today’s winner.

  • richard huntoon

    manager puts him in to pinch hit in the bottom of the inning and his team scores the winning run so he is listed as the pitcher