NEW YORK — Shh, don't tell your kids. Wade McGilberry just won a million dollars playing a video game.
The 23-year-old from Mobile, Ala., accomplished the feat in just an hour and a half, becoming the first to pitch a perfect game in Take-Two Interactive Software Inc.'s "Major League Baseball 2K10." He and his wife, Katy, plan to pay off their mortgage and start a family with the winnings.
"We are trying to be responsible with it. We are simple people," said Katy McGilberry, also 23.
It wasn't supposed to be that easy. In fact Wade has not been able to duplicate his feat since March 2, the day he bought the game at its midnight launch and played it after coming home from his job as a records keeper for 401(k) retirement plans.
Take-Two offered the $1 million prize to the first person to pitch a perfect game.
Jason Argent, vice president of marketing at Take-Two's 2K Sports business, said the company didn't know how many times the feat has been accomplished in the video game. Certainly no one among the game's developers has been able to do it.
In a perfect game, no batter from the other team ever scores or reaches a base. That means no hits, no walk and no getting on base because he is hit by a pitch or for any other reason.
It is among the rarest feats in all sports. And "MLB 2K10" tries to simulate real baseball as closely as possible with the player sitting on the couch.
Off the couch, only 18 pitchers have thrown perfect games in the history of Major League Baseball, beginning with Lee Richmond in 1880 and ending with Mark Buehrle in 2009.
"We knew it would be difficult but not impossible," Argent said.
McGilberry said that when he bought the game, his wife suggested that he take the day off work so he could get a head start on the competition.
"I thought about it (and) the responsible thing to do was to go to work," he said. When he came home, he set up a video recording, started playing and achieved the perfect game after "five or six attempts."
Argent said Take-Two has received a handful of submissions after McGilberry, but they haven't been verified yet. He said the contest helped sales of the game.
"I think it's really good publicity," he said. "I wouldn't have bought the game if not for that."