The flamboyant Count of Montefusco took San Francisco by storm in the mid-1970s.
Reminiscent of Dizzy Dean, he made predictions and backed them with sensational performances.
He made a sparkling debut with the Giants in September of 1974, defeating the arch-rival
Dodgers in relief and hitting a home run
in his first ML at-bat. In 1975 the fastballer
predicted a shutout over the Dodgers and then delivered, 1-0. His 1975 record of
15-9, with a 2.88 ERA and the second-highest strikeout total in the league (215),
earned him the NL Rookie of the Year Award. In 1976 he was 16-14, with a 2.84 ERA
and a NL-topping six shutouts. He no-hit the Braves, 9-0, on September 29.
affected his performance, his antics lost their charm. A fistfight with Giants manager
Dave Bristol hastened his exit from San Francisco. In a brief 1983 comeback, he had
a combined 14-4 mark with the Padres and Yankees.
FROM THE BASEBALL CHRONOLOGY
»September 3, 1974: The Giants John Montefusco makes his ML debut, homers in his first official time at bat, off Charlie Hough, and pitches nine innings of relief to earn a 9–5 victory over the Dodgers.
»May 4, 1975: The Giants beat the Astros 8–6 in the first game of a doubleheader at Candlestick. In the 2nd inning, Houston's Bob Watson scores what is calculated as ML baseball's one-millionth run of all time (the Philadelphia Nationals Wes Fisler scored the first run on April 22, 1876) as Milt May hits John Montefusco's first pitch to drive him home. The Reds Dave Concepcion homers about the same moment and races around the bases, but Watson, on 2B, scores first. The Reds lose to Atlanta, 3–2.
»July 31, 1975: Giants pitcher John Montefusco predicts he'll shut out the Reds and strike out Johnny Bench four times. The Count's a little off as the Reds score seven runs in one 1/3 innings off Montefusco, three of the runs coming on a Bench homer. The Reds win, 11–6.
»September 29, 1976: John Montefusco walks only Jerry Royster in hurling a no-hitter as the Giants beat the Braves 9–0. Starter Jamie Easterly toils less than two innings to take the loss. Montefusco (16-14), "The Mouth that Roared," proclaims in the locker room afterwards that, "The Count is back."