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Frank Viola
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Game Log Pitching
Memories of
Frank Viola
Frank Viola
Ultimate Mets Database popularity ranking: 135 of 1043 players
Frank John Viola
Born: April 19, 1960 at Hempstead, N.Y.
Throws: Left Bats: Left
Height: 6.04 Weight: 209

Frank Viola was the most popular Ultimate Mets Database daily lookup on January 29, 2008, January 30, 2008, and January 31, 2008.


First Mets game: August 2, 1989
Last Mets game: October 4, 1991

Winner of American League Cy Young award, 1988. (Minnesota Twins)

Share your memories of Frank Viola


Mike Welch
This guy was a fantastic pitcher in his prime. His "circle change" was among the most devastating pitches in baseball. Setup by a fastball that was average at best, the "circle change" left many a hitter bewildered. The Mets were lucky to have Viola during his prime, but gave up far too much to get him. Viola came on board at the 1989 season, right at the trading deadline, in a trade the would have best not been made. The Mets gave up the jewels of their farm system (Kevin Tapani, David West and others) to obtain Viola, whose break even record that year did not help the Mets overcome the Pirates in the pennant race. The players the Mets surrendered for Viola went on the propel Tom Kelly's Twins to a world championship.

Could never win the big game and, along with Franco, combined to help blow a pennant in '90, even though he won 20 games that year. Never won when it counted. Also one of the worst(weak) mustaches in baseball. Hope he's shaved it off by now (2000).

Mr. Sparkle
One of the biggest crybabies in Mets history. He had one great season and one dreadful one. He tried blaming the losses on the defense behind him. It seemed like every loss was someone else's fault but his. Nice team attitude, Frank. Go eat a marshmallow.

January 16, 2001
Whadda wimp! He could pitch, no doubt there, but, he was a jerk. I wanted to pull that chessy 'stach down and tie it around his flabby chest! Whadda jerk!

April 28, 2001
'go make a pizza" you fat left-handed piece of garbage. Was hampton before hampton. He was a native New Yorker who could not wait to leave town as a free- agent. The Mets offered him a fair offer, but turned it down. Then blamed the defense for his losses and desire to leave saying "I don't want to work with plumbers in the infield & outfield". Never mentioned the 35 or so home runs he gave up. Blew out his arm a year ot two later.

Logan Swanson
May 17, 2001
One of the most irrelevant 20 win seasons in baseball history. Viola was like a hitter who pops 40 home runs, all with his team ahead 10 to nothing. This guy was a bust.

October 8, 2001
How could all of you have so many bad things to say about such a great guy. All ytou new Yorkers are a bunch girls trying to act hard. You had a cy young award winner on your staff, and some of you also have the nerve to say he cant pitch when it counts. what??? wait o yeah he did win the World Series MVP, right, yeah, and what, he won game 7, wow I forgot not clutch huh?.. o yeah, next time you all have a 200 game winner and a cy young award winner then you all can talk, until then shut your mouths.

October 14, 2001
I'm probably pretty biased because Frankie is one of my all-time favorites in the game. He was nothing but super when he was healthy. Consistent as heck, gave you innings, pretty much kept his team in every game he pitched, isn't that what you want from a big league starting pitcher? Those who say he couldn't win the big one, OK with the Mets you might have a legitimate gripe, but he wasn't the only one you know. The guy takes the ball once every five days. What's going on the other four days? I think in 1990 he pitched great in all but a few games. Without him the Mets probably wouldn't have been in the race anyway.

November 3, 2001
He did tend to point the finger at everyone but himself. Lost me as a fan forever when he went on tv before he signed with the Red Sox and started spewing about how he, a native New Yorker, loved Boston more and he loved Fenway Park, I'm just glad to leave NY, blah, blah, blah. Great career move Frank, a lefty with a dying fastball who was a flyball pitcher and you choose Fenway. What a freakin' genius. Ranks right up there with Darryl Kile and Mike Hampton for believing they could go to Coors Field and defy the laws of physics. Idiots. Get a clue.

Dunedin Dave
November 19, 2001
I remember a game F.V. pitched for the '92 Red Sox. He 1-hit Toronto, who, as you might recall, won the World Series that year. Devon White broke up his no-no with a single in the 9th & the Sox won 1-0. A tough lefty is a valuable commodity & he was a good one.

Larry Burns
June 5, 2002
Talk about flaming out! He came here as a NY boy as the returning hero. I remember he said his favorite restaurant was Borelli's in East Meadow on Hempstead Turnpike. That place has been an institution for generations now. He was a borderline Hall of Famer with the Twins and he started off like he was not gonna miss a beat in NY. Then he had his 2nd year. He was not good. He complicated matters by blaming all his fellow players---real leadership there. Then it got so bad we had to get rid of him. What a whiney pain in the ass.

Roger DeWitt
July 23, 2002
I met Frank Viola and his son Frankie (KC Royals) on 7/22/02 at the Disney Sports Complex where we were guests of Randy Leek LHP AA Dodgers vs Orlando Rays. It was a true pleasure listening to Frank discussing pitching strategy about the starter (Randy) with his dad Rick. We have known Randy for several years and know he is a fine judge of character and he certainly respects Frank. I was impressed with the CY award winner during this game and will often remember the evening. He told me he now coaches high school ball in Orlando and follows UCF and the Rays. Good luck to Frank and to Frankie on his emerging career with KC.

July 26, 2002
Frank "Sweet Music" Viola, a tremendous pitcher in his prime time for the Minnesota Twins. I had the priviledge to meet Viola twice ('87 & '88) at a Make A Wish Foundation golf tournament. He was the only one, besides Dan Gladden and Kent Hrbek, who spent the time to sign memorabilia and take photos. Where was the great Kirby Puckett? Nowhere in sight just like today. Frank Viola could melt my heart with his smile :) I'm glad to hear that he's still doing something he loves with a passion and that his son (Frankie) someday will share a spotlight just like his Dad. Thanks for all the memories!

geoff rick
July 30, 2002
Ohhhhh the arrogance of Viola! Listening to him say in the 1990 NY Mets tape that one man can't do it all (talking about himself of course) made me sick! Typical former all star who comes to the Mets and moans and bitches about the players around him as well as the fans (Rickey Henderson come to mind?).

Brian Owen
May 5, 2003
This guys pitching ability went downhill the minute the mustache went out of style.

The Mook
November 15, 2003
I agree than Frankie's tenure in NY was disapointing. I remember thinking that the Mets had won the 89 title when they got him. My lasting memory , though, was a bad one. In 91, he publicly trashed Rookies Doug Simons and Pete Schourek for essentially not being as talented as Frank. It always seemed a classless thing for a veteran of his stature-especially when the two kids were called up in a pinch and Simons especially was clearly over his head. He didn't need Viola shooting his mouth off in the paper. I guess in the end Frank was a typical Long Island loudmouth, had he not developed his circle change he was no doubt destined to be "Frank from East Meadow" a "first-time long time" on Mike and the Mad Dog.

Got Goich?
January 10, 2004
One of the worst swings by a major league hitter in the history of the game. Leiter looks like McGwire next to this guy.

Tom Shannon
April 20, 2004
On the last day of the 1990 season, the Mets finally beat the Pirates after a long season of getting dominated by them. On that day, Viola won his 20th game of the season, but what I remember is that he had a pile of shaving cream on his hat as he warmed up for the first inning. Everyone in the dugout was pointing at Dwight once Frankie noticed.

Tapani and Aggie had career years for the Twins in '91. Turned out to be a bad trade for us. Where's Tim Drummond?!?!

By the way, I was mad that Straw didn't go for his 40th that day. Who knows what he was doing?

April 29, 2005
It's really appalling that Frankie was the last Met to have a 20-win season. I looked back to see what the best win totals have been since then, and even during the good years, they've not been inspiring:

Leiter '98: 17 Reed '98: 16 Leiter '00: 16 Trachsel '02: 16 B. Jones '97: 15 several (including Mark Clark!) with 14

The Twins trade was clearly worst because of Aguilera. I remember the Mets thought his arm couldn't be resilient enough as a closer. Tapani won 75 games as a Twin, but really only had a couple of big years. Of course, one was for the '91 champs.

Jonathan Stern
April 30, 2005
Wow! You're right! Frankie V. in 1990 had the Mets' last 20-game season. Incredible.

I remember enjoying most of 1990 because of Frankie V., who, along with John Franco formed a great hometown duo. In that year's All-Star Game, a funny moment occurred during the pre-game intros. Since the Mets were still regarded as the "bad guys" of baseball, Straw was booed. Next to him was Viola, a non-1986er, and HE was booed! He looked surprised, then smiled back at the fans as only a New Yawker could. Then Franco, the newest Met of the three, heard it from the fans and he made a silly face at them as he doffed his cap, as if to say, "Don't be too happy to see me, either."

But, far from still being the bad guys, the Mets were rotting as an organization even then. Other than Viola and Franco, the team looked lifeless. You wondered how they had such a good record. Then Buddy turned to Julio Valera and the rest was infamy. As for Viola, he could not get over being surrounded by out-of-position plumbers and probably did not endear himself to his teammates when he lashed out at them in the press.

I wonder to what extent playing for the Buddy Ball Mets wrecked Frankie V.'s career. He never again regained his form as a top-flight pitching ace after leaving New York.

Lifelong Fan
July 11, 2005
We traded half a team for this guy, and he bails after a coupla years.

Ed K
August 15, 2005
I think some of the nastier entries of Frank Viola are not justified. Of course, I was a bit distracted in 1990 as my father passed away and so I did not follow the Mets as closely as I normally did and did not catch all the alleged excuses. But I do recall a couple things.

First, they gave up a lot for him at the 1989 trading deadline but most Mets fans and I thought it was a calculated risk worth taking. The Mets were falling out of the 1989 race and after the trade they stayed in it about another month. And in 1990, they would not have been in first place September first without him.

Second, it is not fair to blame Viola for the 1990 fadeout. He pitched 8 times from August 31 to the end. In the first four of those, he won three, and had a no decision after shutting out the Pirates 8 innings in the other. Then he lost three times before winning the last game of the season to get his 20th victory. But he pitched badly in only one of those three games and the Mets had already fallen out of first place before those three games.

The real culprit in the rotation that September was Sid Fernandez who did not win in all of Septemeber. Cone had a 4-3 record in the stretch like Viola. Gooden was the unsung hero, not losing all September until the next-to-last game. if he had won that game, the Mets would have had two twenty game winners for the season.

Bottom line: If the Mets had held on to 1st place in 1990, I doubt there would be such negative comments posted here. Nor do I blame Viola for leaving the Mets after 1991. It was pretty clear that the team was falling badly by then. It was not a Mike Hampton situation.

Jeff In Florida
September 27, 2005
What people don't realize is that in 1990, Viola was just as important to the Mets as Darryl Strawberry was!

March 31, 2007
I remember when the Mets got him reading an article that said that the year the Twins won it all Viola had to back out of a friend's wedding which took place during the playoffs/ series. Maybe I'm weird, but it kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Kind of like you're jinxing yourself by believing that you're not going to be in the playoffs no matter who your team is. After reading that story I wasn't all that surprised that he didn't succeed here.

Hank M
May 28, 2007
In the late 90s, ESPN aired a gymnastics special called the "Rock and Roll Challenge". This event, which featured USA Olympians, had a panel of five celebrity judges. Frank was one of that quintet determining performance scores by some of America's top gymnasts.

My first thought to this was "What does this World Series MVP & Cy Young Award Winner know about gymnastics?" Well, about five years later, I came across some women's diving on TV (I think it was the Olympic Trials.) One of the competitors was Frank's daughter, Brittany. After each one of Brittany's dives, her ex-Met dad was shown in the stands holding a video camera. I reached a conclusion here that Frank became a qualified gymnastics judge through his daughter. At that time, she was probably heavily involved in that sport (a prerequisite to diving.)

Brittany narrowly missed making the 2004 U.S. Olympic team. As of this writing, she was a member of the diving team at the University of Miami. Great athletic talent apparently runs in the Viola family.

February 12, 2008
Viola holds the distinction of being the first real game memory in my life. The first regular season game I remember watching was his first start as a Met in St. Louis. (I watched before that but this memory lasted.) I remember my mother let me stay up later since she knew he came over in a huge trade.

December 19, 2008
He will always be an ace to me.

Shickhaus Franks
August 29, 2012
Frank's daughter Brittany did make the U.S. Women's Diving team and although she did NOT get a medal in London, nevertheless she represented the USA team proudly. Plus the Mets let him take a few days off from his pitching coach job with the Class A Savannah Sand Gnats (love that name) to watch his daughter in action!

Kevin C. Delahanty MD
March 26, 2014
Frank is about to undergo open heart surgery. Good luck, Sir. Speedy recovery!

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