Card-by-Yankees Card: The 1977 Topps Set, Card #370, John Montefusco (Article 68)
by Paul Semendinger
(Continuing a series…)
In the 1980s, the Yankees used a plethora of pitchers who had once been great, or who had once shown great promise. John Montefusco was one of those pitchers.
In 1974, in his first big league at bat, Montefusco hit a home run.
In 1975, Montefusco was the National League Rookie of the Year.
In 1976, he was a National League All-Star.
Making the promise of this pitcher seem even brighter was the fact that he threw a no-hitter (against the Braves) during that 1976 season.
Pitching for the San Francisco Giants in 1975 and 1976, Montefusco went 32-23, 2.86. It was a great start to a career.
But, like so many, it just didn’t last.
1977 brought a 7-12, 3.49 record and the beginning of arm problems and an injury history.
He came back in 1978 to go 11-9, 3.81, but some poor years were coming…
Between 1979 and 1982, he won only 19 games and lost 30.
He also started bouncing around.
In 1981, he pitched for the Atlanta Braves and in 1982 and for most of 1983, for the San Diego Padres.
The Yankees acquired Montefusco in late August 1983. At the time, the Yankees were three games out and hoping for a return to the top of the division.
On August 28, he pitched six innings (earning the win) as the Yankees defeated the California Angels
On September 3, he pitched six innings (earning the win) as the Yankees defeated the Seattle Mariners
On September 10, he earned a no-decision (5 innings pitched) – The Yankees lost that game
On September 20, he pitched six (plus) innings (earning the win) as the Yankees defeated the Boston Red Sox
On September 25, he pitched seven (plus) innings (earning the win) as the Yankees defeated the Cleveland Indians
On September 30, he pitched seven innings (earning the win) as the Yankees defeated the Baltimore Orioles
All told, John Montefusco went 5-0 down the stretch for the 1983 Yankees (who would end up in third place with a 91-71 record).
Montefusco remained with the Yankees through the 1986 season, but he didn’t pitch much. Those injuries kept him off the field most years.
From 1984 through 1986, he appeared in just 18 games going 5-3, 3.98 over 74.2 innings.
Postscript: After his baseball career, Montefusco, in 1997, he was arrested on a variety of charges and spent two years behind bars.