Nobody Expected This Guy to Pitch at All, Much Less Win the Game

Photo by Jose Morales on Unsplash

I’m always on the lookout for stories where the “old guys” show those youngsters how it’s done. My friend and PJ Media colleague Athena Thorne delivered one for me with a fun story from the world of minor league baseball.


Steve Montgomery, the manager of the Sioux City Explorers, a team in the American Association, found himself in a bind on Saturday. He had roared through his bullpen over the previous two games, exhausting 10 pitchers.

Montgomery’s pitching dilemma even confused the broadcast team. Explorers Director of Broadcasting and Media Dan Vaughan told Siouxland Proud, “I’ve never seen a lineup card in all the years I’ve done this that had a question mark. That was the official lineup… two hours before game time.”

But Montgomery did what any minor league manager might do and called up a former player who still lived in the area. It’s a genius move on paper — but the pitcher he called up hadn’t played with the Explorers since 2007. It took some convincing, but 44-year-old Iowa State Rep. J. D. Scholten (D-1st District) finally agreed.

“I called him and I said ‘I need you,'” Montgomery told Siouxland Proud. “He’s like, ‘I don’t know if I can,’ and I said ‘Look, I don’t care what you give me. I just need someone to go in there and throw strikes.’ He said, ‘I think I can do that, but I’ve got to have someone pick up my shift.’ He called me back ten minutes later and said he’s in.”


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Scholten was volunteering at a music festival less than eight miles from the ballpark. He arrived less than two hours before game time.

“I saw I had like ten missed calls and Montgomery texting me saying ‘Call me, ASAP,'” Scholten said to Siouxland Proud. “That turned into less than three hours later getting the starting nod and pitching. I wasn’t at top shape, but I said now or never, and when they needed me I said I’ll give it my best. I don’t know what I’ve got, but I’ll give it my best.”

Scholten admitted that he was nervous walking through the tunnel, but by the end of the first inning, he had conquered his jitters. The legislator wound up pitching 6 2/3 innings and gave up only two runs in the Explorers’ 11-2 win. The fans loved it.


“I’ve done just over 1,000 games in this league, and there’s never been a story like this that I’ve ever seen,” Vaughan told Siouxland Proud. “With all the storylines in there, you’ve got a representative, he’s 44, he’s pitching in a local league, and basically off the street. All those storylines, and to have him come in and do that, I’ve never seen that. That’s a first, and it’s the stuff of lore for sure.”

Score one for the old guys. Hats off to you, Rep. Scholten.



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