|SWITCHED TO No. 99 IN '93. HOW APPROPRIATE.|
|''WILD THING ... YOU WALK EVERYTHING!''|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- It's been said southpaw Mitch Williams pitched like his hair was on fire and that he tried to do everything, including throwing a ball, at 99 mph. Fitting observations of a closer with one of the game's most violent deliveries. He had plenty of highs and a historic low during an 11-year career, saving 192 games for six teams. Watching his daily ups and downs on WGN with the Cubs during their NL East title run in 1989 was supremely entertaining.
- Can't be any other than on Oct. 23, 1993, when Wild Thing came on in Game 6 of the World Series to protect a 6-5 Phillies' lead in the bottom of the ninth. Williams didn't have his best stuff. He walked #86 Rickey Henderson on four straight, got Devon White on a deep fly to left-center before #70 Paul Molitor singled sharply to center. Up stepped #94 Joe Carter, who took a down-and-in 2-2 pitch and drove it into the left-field seats for the game-winner that gave the World Series to the Blue Jays. Give credit to Williams for answering all the questions afterward and never ducking responsibility. Big man stuff.
- Despite its ending, the '93 season was Williams' zenith as a closer. He saved 43 games in the regular season, blowing only six, to anchor the back end of the Phillies' pen.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Williams was always walking a tightrope as closer because of his inability to consistently throw strikes. For his career, he struck out 8.6 per nine innings but walked 7.1.
- After saving 32 games in his first three years with the Rangers, Williams was traded to the Cubs in December '88 as part of a nine-player trade that sent #52 Rafael Palmeiro to the Rangers.
- Lost amid his implosion in Game 6 was Williams' performance in the '93 National League Championship Series against the Braves. He saved two games and got the win in two others.
- When Williams pitched in the World Series, #10 Curt Schilling was often shown on TV with a towel draped over his head. Williams was not amused, but Phillie fans at Veterans Stadium started doing the same.
- Since '09, he's been a studio analyst for MLB Network, and while he draws ridiculous conclusions sometimes, his candor is refreshing.