Frank Viola – 1988 Cy Young Winner
In the summer of 1989, the Mets were hopeful the end of the glorious late 1980s were not through for the franchise. To give themselves a boost, they pulled off a July 31 trade with the Minnesota Twins for the reigning American League Cy Young winner, Frank Viola.
Viola cost the Mets Rick Aguilera, Tim Drummond, Kevin Tapani, David West, and the player to be named later in the deal, Jack Savage. It was quite a haul, but a pretty fair deal to land a guy who won 24 games a year prior.
At the time of the trade, Viola was just 8-12. He had an ERA of 3.79 for the Twins, a total more than a run higher than the 2.64 posted in his Cy Young season.
Viola wasn’t elite down the stretch. However, it’s hard to get too upset over a 3.38 ERA in 12 starts. Fortunately for the Mets, this trade was more than a rental. Viola would stick around for two more seasons.
In 1990, Viola put together a masterful 20-win season with a 2.67 ERA. He finished third in the Cy Young race and helped keep the Mets as one of the top teams in the National League. He was an All-Star this year and again in his final campaign with the Amazins in 1991.
In total, Viola made 82 starts for his hometown Mets. He went 38-32 with a 3.31 ERA. He was an absolute workhorse for the team, making 35 starts in each of his full seasons with the team.
Sadly, because the team never made the postseason, he’s one of those pitchers many fans forgot about.