Wednesday, March 13, 2013

1989 Topps Frank Viola

Last week, I featured a Twins pitcher who led the league in Losses in 1988 . Today's post is a teammate of Bert Blyleven's, Frank Viola. As rough a year as Blyleven had, Viola more than made up for it.
Despite leading the league in runs and eaned runs during previous seasons, Viola continued his 1987 World Series MVP ways by winning an Major League high 24 games in 1988, 3 more than American League runner-up Dave Stewart's total. This led to Viola winning the Cy Young award with 27 of the 28 first place votes.
I was particularly impressed by the 1988 Monthly Scoreboard chart on the back of the card. I didn't pay close attention to these types of things on cards when I was younger, but Viola won 6 games just in the month of May. Without looking, this probably comes down to a timing thing (starting on the 1st day of a month and getting an extra start at the end of the month) but it would surprise me for just about any pitcher to get 4 wins in a month, let alone average it over the course of the season like Viola did.
 Unfortunately, I looked up the record for most wins in a month and its some ridiculous turn-of-the-20th century numbers. I can see a reliever maybe lucking into 6-7 wins but Rube Waddell and Jack Coombs each won 10 (!) games in the American League in one month. And John Clarkson won an astonishing 15 games in June 1885. He only won 53 games that year, completing 68 of his 70 starts for the Chicago White Stockings...

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