Twenty Five years ago today, on August 2, 1989 – Frank Viola made his New York Mets debut.
It was Wednesday night in St. Louis in front of 41,438 at Busch Stadium. Frank went 8 innings while allowing 4 hits, walking 5 batters and striking out 2 batters in a 4-3 victory, earning the victory. Randy Myers picked up the save and the Mets raised their record to 55-50 on the season.
The Mets starting lineup that evening:
- Keith Miller – 2B
- Juan Samuel – CF
- Howard Johnson – 3B
- Darryl Strawberry – RF
- Kevin McReynolds – LF
- Dave Magadan – 1B
- Barry Lyons – C
- Kevin Elster – SS
- Frank Viola – P
Frank was acquired on July 31st in a trade with the Minnesota Twins for Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani and David West. Jack Savage was later sent to the Twins on October 16th as the player to be named later to complete the trade.
The following season, his first full year with the Mets, Sweet Music would go 20-12 with a 2.67 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in an MLB high 35 starts. He would finish third in the Cy Young voting behind Doug Drabek and Ramon Martinez, but his 20 wins as a Met would not be matched until 22 years later when R.A. Dickey won his 20th on September 27, 2012.
Viola now serves as the pitching coach for the Mets’ in Triple-A Las Vegas, his fourth season in that role which has seen him preside over the development of pitching prospects Steven Matz, Jacob deGrom, Rafael Montero and Noah Syndergaard.
Happy Anniversary, Frank.