Minnesota Twins legendary pitcher Frank Viola was in town this weekend and he paid a visit to the Blue Thunder game at Mills Field. He threw out the first pitch and then stuck around to sign autographs. The game was Brainerd's Blue Thunder against Mankato.
He was outgoing, friendly, and funny . When Chuck Richards, 72, handed Viola a rare baseball card from early on in Viola's Twins career ,Viola looked at it and laughed about his hair do from back then. "No wonder Tom Kelly called me Bozo the Clown".
After signing a young girl's Wheaties box that commemorated the 1987 World Series that Viola was MVP in, Viola teased her saying, "I hope you aren't going to eat the cereal now."
Frank was also the 1988 Cy Young award winner. The pitcher cherishes the fact that the Twins were able to win due to the concept of a team effort. Viola was traded to the New York Mets in 1989 over contract issues. Later,he joined the Boston Red Sox where his career ended. An elbow injury caused him to have Tommy John surgery from which he never recovered.
photo by Sweet Music
"You have to know one day that it's going to be taken from you so you have to enjoy the game, have fun, and see what happens."
photo by palmettojim