Do you mention Frank Viola on your job interviews?

I had a job interview this morning, and my interviewer saw on my resume that I had gone to Cal Poly. She smiled and mentioned that she wished her children had gone there. She listed their colleges, saying her youngest had just made the baseball team for St. John’s University. I said I believed that Ron Artest went there, she said Chris Mullin was an alumni, and though I didn’t mention it, I know there’s a scene in Coming to America where Eddie Murphy goes to a St. John’s basketball game. Then I remembered Frank Viola.

Before winning 176 games in the majors, including 24 in his Cy Young award-winning season with the Minnesota Twins in 1988, Viola pitched at St. John’s with another future All Star, John Franco. They even helped the school make the College World Series in 1980. I didn’t bring all this up in the interview, of course, though I mentioned Viola’s name. I’m not sure if my interviewer knew who he was, but then again, St. John’s is really more of a basketball school.

I also brought up in the interview that I can name World Series winners from pretty much any year. I say this to a lot of people I meet, the kind of declaration that screams, Come on, I dare you to stump me. Some take the bait, some don’t. I should probably stop bringing it up with prospective employers, but with that said, it did help get me a job one time. It even used to be on my resume, under a “Fun Facts” section that has since been abandoned. That being said, my interviewer this morning didn’t take the challenge.

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