Long Island native Frank Viola was acquired by the Mets at the trading deadline in 1989 from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for David West, Kevin Tapani, Rick Aguilera, Jack Savage, and Tim Drummond. The left-handed pitcher known as “Sweet Music’ was the defending American League Cy Young Award winner and former World Series MVP, having won the award with the Twins in 1987.
Viola was set to join Dwight Gooden, Ron Darling, David Cone, Sid Fernandez and Bobby Ojeda as the Mets made a push to win back to back division titles. Viola won his first start as a Met on August 2nd against the St Louis Cardinals, pitching 8 innings allowing 2 runs and just 4 hits. But unfortunately, it took Viola awhile to get accustomed to his new surroundings as he finished the season with a 5-5 record as the Mets fell short of their quest to return to the postseason. On August 28th against the Dodgers Viola pitched his best game of the year. He faced Orel Hershiser and out pitched the defending National League Cy Young Award winner. It was the first game in baseball history featuring two defending Cy Young Award winners. Viola pitched a complete game shutout allowing just three hits as the Mets won 1-0.
1990 would be Viola’s best season with the Mets. He started out the season 6-2 and finished with a 20-12 record, becoming just the fifth pitcher in franchise history to win 20 games. He led the National League in innings pitched with 249 2/3 innings and finished fourth in the league with 2.67 ERA. For his efforts, he was named to the National League All-Star squad and finished third in the National League Cy Young voting.
Viola continued his strong pitching over the first half of 1991 starting the season with an 11-5 record and making a second All -Star appearance. But as the Mets collapsed during the second half of the season so did Viola. He lost 10 of his final 12 decisions to finish the season with a 13-15 record and 3.97 ERA.
Frank Viola became a free agent following the 1991 season and signed with the Boston Red Sox. In his two plus seasons with the Mets he finished with a 38-32 record and 3.31 ERA.
While with the Mets Viola wore number 26 in 1989 and 29 from 1990-1991.
Frank Viola also played for the following teams:
Minnesota Twins – 1982-1989
Boston Red Sox – 1992-1994
Cincinnati Reds – 1995
Toronto Blue Jays – 1996