John Montefusco
John Montefusco Padres.jpg
Pitcher
Born: (1950-05-25) May 25, 1950 (age 72)
Long Branch, New Jersey
Batted: Right
Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 3, 1974, for the San Francisco Giants
Last MLB appearance
May 1, 1986, for the New York Yankees
MLB statistics
Win–loss record90–83
Earned run average3.54
Strikeouts1,081
Teams
Career highlights and awards

John Joseph Montefusco Jr. (born May 25, 1950), nicknamed "The Count," is an American former professional baseball player and coach. He played as a right-handed pitcher in Major League Baseball from 1974 to 1986, most notably as a member of the San Francisco Giants with whom he won the National League Rookie of the Year Award and pitched a no-hitter.[1] He also played for the Atlanta Braves, San Diego Padres, and the New York Yankees.[1]

Baseball career

Montefusco with the San Francisco Giants
Montefusco with the San Francisco Giants

Born in Long Branch, New Jersey[1] and raised in Keansburg, Montefusco attended Middletown High School (since renamed as Middletown High School North).[2] Named the National League Rookie of the Year in 1975, Montefusco's nickname was "The Count", a pun on his last name which sounds like Monte Cristo. In his 13-year career, his record was 90-83, with 1,081 strikeouts, and a 3.54 ERA. He was a National League All-Star in 1976, winning a career high 16 games that year.[1]

On September 3, 1974, Montefusco entered his first major league game as a relief pitcher. Not only was he the winning pitcher that day,[3] he also hit a home run in his first major-league at-bat.[4] He is one of only a handful of pitchers to do so, and is one of two players to both hit a home run in his first at bat and win the Rookie of the Year Award. The other is Wally Moon.

Before a game against the Los Angeles Dodgers on July 4, 1975, Montefusco guaranteed he would win the game. He proceeded to throw a shutout as the Giants defeated the Dodgers 1–0.[5]

On September 29, 1976, Montefusco threw a no-hitter for the Giants in a 9-0 victory versus the Atlanta Braves. It was the last no-hitter to be thrown by a Giant until Jonathan Sánchez threw one on July 10, 2009.[6]

After the 1983 season, Montefusco signed a three-year, $2.3 million contract to remain with the Yankees.[7] He started the 1986 season in the team's bullpen but pitched in only four games before hip pain became too severe to pitch through.[7] On September 28, he retired.[7]

Legal issues

Montefusco and his wife had been residents of Colts Neck Township, New Jersey.[2] In October 1997, Montefusco was arrested and charged with beating his former wife of 23 years Doris,[8] whom he had recently divorced, in her Colts Neck Township home.[9][10] He was held on $60,000 bail and was charged with aggravated sexual assault, making terroristic threats, assault, burglary and criminal mischief.[10][11] Montefusco was indicted in December 1997 and was held on $1 million in bail.[12]

Montefusco was released on bail in November 1999 after serving more than two years behind bars, and in February 2000, he was acquitted of the most serious charges and found guilty of criminal trespass and simple assault and sentenced to three years of probation.[13]

In 2001, a U.S. district judge in Trenton, New Jersey dismissed a lawsuit filed by Montefusco against ESPN. Judge Anne Elise Thompson ruled that being compared to O. J. Simpson is not defamation.[14][15] During a March 19, 2000 broadcast on ESPN's SportsCenter 2000, Doris Montefusco had likened her ex-husband to Simpson, who was acquitted in 1995 of the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson. An ESPN announcer during the broadcast had paraphrased Montefusco's ex-wife as saying "the only difference between this and the O.J. Simpson case is that she's alive to talk about it. Nicole Simpson is not."[15]

Coaching career

At the time of his October 1997 arrest, Montefusco had been a pitching instructor for the Tampa Yankees, a minor league team.[10] He later spent several years as the pitching coach for the Somerset Patriots in the independent Atlantic League of Professional Baseball until resigning in September 2005.[16]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b c d "John Montefusco statistics". Baseball Reference. Retrieved 17 December 2019.
  2. ^ a b Capezzuto, Tom. "From the Mound to Harness Racing", The New York Times, May 24, 1991. Accessed May 15, 2022. "John Montefusco, a Keansburg native and a former major league pitcher, knew in 1986 that his 13-year career in baseball was coming to a close because of a severe hip ailment.... ... 'I was working for Bell Labs in 1970 when Brookdale Junior College was opening up for the first time,' said Mr. Montefusco, a Middletown High School graduate."
  3. ^ Hurte, Bob. "John Montefusco". Society for American Baseball Research. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  4. ^ "John Montefusco Stats". Baseball Almanac. Retrieved February 9, 2018.
  5. ^ Haft, Chris and Cash Kruth (August 10, 2010). "Montefusco familiar with guaranteeing wins". Giants.MLB.com. Major League Baseball. Retrieved August 12, 2012.
  6. ^ "Registered & Protected by MarkMonitor".
  7. ^ a b c Martinez, Michael (September 29, 1986). "Mattingly Gets 3 Hits for .300 Average". The New York Times. Retrieved August 17, 2021.
  8. ^ "Montefusco can count on it: If news story is true, it's not defamatory - SportsBusiness Daily - SportsBusiness Journal - SportsBusiness Daily Global".
  9. ^ "Archives - Philly.com".
  10. ^ a b c Mckinley, Jesse (20 October 1997). "NEW JERSEY DAILY BRIEFING; Ex-Yankee Pitcher Is Arrested". The New York Times.
  11. ^ "Ex-Baseball Star Montefusco Jailed".
  12. ^ Staff, From; Reports, Wire (21 December 1997). "Lipinski Impressive in Olympic Tuneup" – via LA Times.
  13. ^ The Associated Press (5 February 2000). "PLUS: COURT NEWS; John Montefusco Put on Probation". The New York Times.
  14. ^ "USATODAY.com - Court rules ESPN didn't defame Montefusco".
  15. ^ a b "News from the National League". 24 July 2001.
  16. ^ "Patriots bring in Jeff Scott as pitching coach - OurSports Central". 15 September 2005.
Preceded byJohn Candelaria No-hitter pitcher September 29, 1976 Succeeded byJim Colborn