Mental Floss

Brain Game: Jim's Big Walk


Today's Brain Game combines a logic puzzle with some knowledge of baseball. Enjoy!

Several years ago, Jim was called up by the Kansas City Royals on the last day of the season to replace an injured reserve outfielder. He served as a pinch-hitter in the top of the eighth inning. It was his one and only Major League plate appearance. Jim walked and ended up stranded on first base when the batter after him was retired.

"The home plate umpire called it perfectly," Jim remembers of his one shot at fame, "and I swung at only two pitches." Given this information and the clues that follow, number each pitch that was thrown to Jim and identify it by (1) whether it was a strike or ball, (2) the pitch's location, and (3) what action Jim took on the pitch.

1. The pitcher threw Jim a total of 7 pitches: 2 of them inside, 2 outside, 1 low, and 2 right down the middle. 2. The pitcher threw exactly 2 pitches with a chance to walk Jim, and exactly 4 pitches with a chance to strike Jim out. 3. The pitcher's second pitch and last pitch went to the same spot. 4. After Jim swung and missed at an outside pitch, the pitcher threw the next pitch in the same spot to try to strike Jim out.

Here is the SOLUTION.


Pitch 1: Jim took the pitch, a called strike down the middle, making the count 0-1.
Pitch 2: Jim took the pitch, a ball inside, evening the count at 1-1.
Pitch 3: Jim swung and missed on an outside pitch, making the count 1-2.
Pitch 4: Jim took the pitch, a ball outside, evening the count at 2-2.
Pitch 5: Jim took the pitch, a ball low, making the count full at 3-2.
Pitch 6: Jim swung and fouled off the pitch, which was right down the middle, leaving the count a 3-2.
Pitch 7: Jim took the pitch, a ball inside, giving him a base on balls.