In 1975, the Cardinals established a major-league record for most intentional walks issued by one team in a nine-inning game.
Cardinals pitchers Lynn McGlothen and Mike Garman combined to give six intentional walks to the Giants on July 19, 1975, at San Francisco. Three of those passes were given to the No. 8 batter, catcher Dave Rader.
The strategy by Cardinals manager Red Schoendienst was driven, in large part, not by a fear of Rader but by the hitting funk being experienced by the Giants’ No. 9 batter, rookie pitcher John Montefusco.
Though the moves worked successfully for St. Louis in all but one instance, the Giants beat the Cardinals, 5-2.
Prime pitching pairing
Montefusco and McGlothen, both 25-year-old right-handers, were developing into staff aces.
Montefusco, nicknamed “The Count,” would win the 1975 National League Rookie of the Year Award, with a 15-9 record and 2.88 ERA. He also would finish second in the NL that season to the Mets’ Tom Seaver in strikeouts _ Seaver had 243 and Montefusco, 215 _ and first in the league in strikeouts per nine innings (7.9).
McGlothen, in his second St. Louis season after being acquired from the Red Sox, would tie Bob Forsch for the team lead in wins in 1975, with 15. He also would lead the 1975 Cardinals in complete games (9), innings pitched (239) and strikeouts (146).
On a Saturday afternoon before 7,136 at Candlestick Park, the Giants struck first when Bobby Murcer hit a two-run home run off McGlothen in the opening inning.
In the second, the Giants threatened again, with Chris Speier on third and one out. Rader was at the plate, with Montefusco in the on-deck circle. The Cardinals, aware Montefusco had one hit in 36 at-bats, played the percentages and walked Rader intentionally. McGlothen then struck out Montefusco and got Von Joshua to ground out.
In the third, with the Giants ahead, 4-2, the Cardinals used the same strategy. With two outs and Giants runners on second and third, Rader was walked intentionally. Montefusco followed with a groundout, ending the inning.
Rader, a left-handed batter who hit .291 in 1975, was walked intentionally by McGlothen for a third consecutive time when he came to the plate in the fifth. With Speier on second and two outs, Rader was given the intentional pass and Montefusco struck out.
Mixing and matching
McGlothen intentionally walked two more batters in the sixth, though neither was Rader.
With Derrel Thomas on second and one out, McGlothen gave an intentional pass to Murcer. The next batter, Gary Matthews, flied out to center. Thomas and Murcer advanced to third and second on the play. That brought to the plate Willie Montanez, a left-handed batter who had driven in two runs with a third-inning single. McGlothen intentionally walked Montanez, loading the bases with two outs.
McGlothen then struck out Speier, escaping the jam.
In the seventh, Garman relieved McGlothen. With one out and no one on base, Garman walked Rader, though this time it was unintentional.
The sixth and final intentional walk occurred in the eighth. With two outs and Thomas on third, Garman intentionally walked Montanez and opted to pitch to Speier. Giants manager Wes Westrum called for a double steal attempt. Thomas stole home, extending the Giants’ lead to 5-2, and Montanez swiped second.
Count in command
Despite a combined 11 walks and 17 hits, the game was completed in a snappy 2:03.
Rader had an odd boxscore line: no at-bats, four walks.
Montefusco got the win. He walked two (none intentional) and struck out seven, including Reggie Smith four times, all on fastballs.
At the plate, Montefusco was 0-for-4, dropping his season batting average to .025 (1-for-40). Boxscore
In his next start, July 23 at San Francisco, Montefusco hit a home run off Milt Wilcox of the Cubs. Before the game, Montefusco said, the Cubs had been teasing him near the batting cage.
“That razzing bothered me and I told those guys to look out because I’m going to beat your butts today and I’m going to hit a homer as well,” Montefusco told United Press International.
In 13 seasons in the major leagues, Montefusco hit .097 (44-for-455) overall and .217 (5-for-23) vs. the Cardinals.