Tuesday, August 19, 2008

#625 Frank Viola




Why this card is awesome: Because of all the weird things on this card:
  • Viola is sort of giving a "thumbs up" to the photographer, but it seems like he was still caught off guard because he didn't really get his hand into the correct position.
  • Geena Davis is hanging out in the first row there, right under the "T" in "TWINS."
  • Good thing Viola's wearing pants, because this is about as direct a crotch shot as you'll see in this set.
I remember at one point in Viola's career, he was getting smacked around because he was tipping his pitches. Word came out that an opposing team figured out that when he came set, he held his glove in one position for a fastball and in another position for an off-speed pitch. Supposedly, the opposition shared this fact around the league and Viola went quite a number of starts before somebody finally told him that he was tipping.

Cool stat: Viola was a good pitcher who had a great peak from 1987 to 1988 when he tied for the lead with 41 wins. He was also the only guy to pitch at least 230 innings from 1984 to 1992.

3 comments:

Timberhill said...

Thank you!
Ever since I got my own 88 Topps set a couple weeks ago ($7.50!), I've been awaiting your commentary on this rather provocative shot of Viola.
Additional thanks for putting me back in touch with the card set that I collected the shit out of in 1988. I've always had fond memories of 88 Topps, and your blog feels like validation for still reminiscing often on the set.
So yeah, i was pretty stoked to find the set on the 1/2 off table at a local card shop.

David said...

I wonder if 1991 was when he was tipping pitches. Check out his 1st half / 2nd half split:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/pi/psplit.cgi?n1=violafr01&year=1991

Andy said...

timberhill....glad you enjoy the blog!

david, it was definitely when he was with the Mets so I think you nailed it.