The Kid In Me Rises Again, and A Cy Young Award Winner Cheerfully Accommodates
A Minnesota sportswriter nicknamed him "Sweet Music," and Frank Viola's pitching was sweet music indeed to Twins fans when he helped them win a World Series title in 1987 with a 17-10 record, only to come back with a spectacular 24-7 record in 1988, earning him the American League Cy Young Award.
Frank retired in 1996 after compiling a record of 176 wins and 150 losses. Twenty-seven years later, he scored one more victory with this longtime fan when he signed a pristine rookie card I unearthed from my collection of 1983 Topps, as well as one from 1986.
I've never been much of an autograph seeker, but when The 10th Inning sports card shop in nearby Hampton announced that Frank would be signing autographs, I took the bait -- and I'm glad I did. Frank was very personable and, in addition to significantly increasing the value of two baseball cards with a few strokes of the pen, good-naturedly posed for a photo with a happy 68-year-old kid.