Frank Viola is the browser heading for this blog post.
Don’t take out your heart medicine. This post isn’t about me.
I’ve always sought to be frank on this blog. But today, I’m not going to be Frank.
Instead, I’m going to set the record straight once and for all.
I’m not Frank Viola.
Well . . . I am, but I’m not the other Frankie V.
You know, Frank Viola, a.k.a, “Sweet Music,” the former major league baseball player.
We are related . . . somehow.
Distant cousins maybe.
We both have Italian blood, and we’re both from New York.
Frank Viola (the other Frankie V.) was born in New York. I was raised in New York, born in New Jersey.
New York, New Jersey . . . distant cousins.
Viola is a bit older than me. Like an older brother.
Do we know each other? We’ve never met in person, but we’ve had exchanges on MySpace a few years back . . . when people actually used MySpace.
People confuse me with Frank Viola the pitcher all the time. They confuse him with Frank Viola the author.
[Cough] I’d like to switch bank accounts with him.
Frank Viola and I have mutual friends. There is a retreat place on the water that I enjoy frequenting to get away and focus on writing . . . and the owners know Frank Viola, the other Frankie V.
Why this post? I’ll get to that in a bit.
A Little Boy’s Dream
Let’s rewind to my middle school years. My boyhood dream was to be a professional baseball player. Not an uncommon dream for little boys who grew up in New York playing little league.
I was a Mets fan back then, and Tom Seaver was “da man.”
His book, Baseball is My Life, was the hot read that circulated among boys my age.
(I wonder if Frank Viola read it . . . the other Frankie V.)
Little league was my passion. Along with playing baseball with the neighbors in our back yards. And of course flipping baseball cards on the school bus.
Interestingly, I was a pitcher. My claim to fame back then was that I struck out 17 batters in one game.
Yes, God gifted me to throw gas, mustard, heat, smoke, et. al. I enjoyed gassin’ it up on the mound.
As a high school sophomore, I was a first-string pitcher on the team. I had the best fastball, but like a young Nolan Ryan, I was erratic. Control wasn’t a strong point.
During my junior year, I lost interest in baseball, and I quit the team.
When I was in my early 20s, I remember turning on the TV one day and I almost passed out. It was a major league baseball game. The guy on the mound had “Viola” pasted on the back of his T-shirt. Then . . . across the screen . . . FRANK VIOLA.
Déjà vu all over again. Sort of.
“Sweet Music,” as they called him, living out my boyhood dream.
Frank Viola, Cy Young Award winner.
Frank Viola, World Series MVP.
Then later, Frank Viola pitching for the New York Mets, the team of Tom Seaver.
I couldn’t help but be a fan.
I even own his rookie card (Topps brand).
Then . . . Frank Viola (the other Frankie V.) moved to Florida, not too far from me. Though I hear he moved away not too long ago.
Why This Post?
Recently, several people sent me tweets congratulating me because my daughter (they assumed) made the USA Olympic diving team.
Brittany Viola is her name.
The person tweeting is a Christian. Perhaps he reads this blog. Perhaps he knows my books. I have no idea. But he made the mistake that many others have made. An easy one to make, mind you. He confused me with Frank Viola, the other Frankie V.
Over the years, I’ve received speaking invitations by people thinking I was Frank Viola, the other Frankie V. Neither of us realized it till the last minute.
I can amuse you with stories of insurance agents, salesmen, Am Ex sales reps, and many other business peeps who thought I was the erstwhile MLB pitcher when speaking to them by phone. Interesting how wonderful people treat you when they think you played in the Majors.
But tell them you’re not the pitcher but the author, and you’re just another schnook (to quote Roy Liotta in Goodfellas). I only did that once just to see the reaction.
I was depressed for a week (just kidding).
Anyways, there are two Frank Viola’s. The author and the pitcher.
I’m not the latter . . . though it was once my dream.
And now a word to Frank Viola . . . the other one.
Congratulations Frank. You da man! Sign a baseball for me and I’ll sign a book for you.
Yea I know . . . I get the better deal there.
Be encouraged that there will be another Frankie V. rooting for you from Florida.
Oh, if any of you baseball fans see me at a speaking event, feel free to bring a baseball. I’d be happy to sign it. You can tell your friends that Frank Viola signed it, and you wouldn’t be lying.
Do you think Frank Viola’s boyhood dream was to be an author?
Naaaaaaahhh . . .
In closing, I’m glad I now have a blog post to which to point people (this one) the next time they confuse me with Frank Viola . . . the other Frankie V.
I shall now end this unusual post by posting some cool info. about Frank Viola . . . for you baseball fans out there in Blogdome.
Frank Viola (Sweet Music) Information
“They called him Sweet Music. I don’t know how sweet the music was, but his pitching was a thing of beauty; he had 20-game-winning seasons for both the Twins and the Mets, he won a Cy Young Award, an All-Star game, and two games in the 1987 World Series.
Frank Viola was nicknamed “Sweet Music” while playing with the Minnesota Twins when a sports writer declared that when he pitched, there was sweet music in the dome! Frankie was drafted by the Twins in the 2nd round of the 1981 amateur draft out of St. John’s University. He made his major league debut in a Twins uniform on June 6, 1982. While he played for five different major league teams, the most prominent portion of his career came as a Twin where he picked up 112 of his 176 career wins. His overall career stats are impressive indeed, with a 3.73 ERA, 176-150 win/loss record, 74 complete games and 16 shut outs in 421 games.
Frank was a work horse on the mound and averaged 229 innings per season. He anchored the staff on the Twins’ 1987 World Championship season and was rewarded by being named the World Series MVP. He also received the Babe Ruth Award that same year. Perhaps his finest season however, came one year later when he posted an incredible 24-7 record and a measly 2.64 ERA. It was in the 1988 season that Frank was named the Cy Young Award winner in the American League. In 1990 he was again a 20 game winner with the Mets and finished 3rd in the Cy Young voting. He was a three time All-Star ((88, ’90, & ’91) and the 1988 All-Star Games AL Starter.
Frank Viola’s nickname (Sweet Music) was a play on the fact that his last name is also the name for a musical instrument, the “Viola.” A fan began displaying a banner bearing the phrase in the outfield’s upper deck when Viola pitched. Twins fans considered the banner to bring good luck. The banner was displayed when Viola was inducted into the Twins Hall of Fame. In 2009, Frank Viola was honored as a member of the Twins’ “All Dome” team.”