New Cardinals pitcher nicknamed 'Lizard King' after eating live lizard to win bet

Miles Mikolas earned the nickname the “Lizard King” for a weird reason. (AP Photo/Elaine Thompson, File)

You might not remember new St. Louis Cardinals pitcher Miles Mikolas after his brief stint in the majors a few years ago, but it’s going to be tough to forget him now. Turns out, Mikolas received his interesting nickname, the “Lizard King,” after … eating a live lizard in order to win a bet.

The story isn’t urban legend, either. There’s video of the event.

We’ll note here that the video could be considered disturbing. A man does eat a live lizard. If you don’t want to watch it because that’s the type of thing that will upset you, we completely understand.

The video was posted in 2011, when Mikolas was still in the San Diego Padres’ minor-league system. We don’t know if the bet resulted in money, but if so, this is the best argument we can find for minor leaguers deserving higher wages. 

After posting a 5.32 ERA over three unsuccessful years in the majors, Mikolas went to Japan and thrived as a starting pitcher. He signed with the Cardinals on Tuesday for $15.5 million over two years.

Whether Mikolas will be successful in the majors depends on if he’s able to carry over his numbers from Japan. At the very least, we know he’ll have the stomach to handle what passes for pizza in St. Louis.

More MLB coverage from Yahoo Sports:

– – – – – – –

Chris Cwik is a writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!