Monday, May 19, 2008

1993 Phillies World Series Team: Mitch Williams

1993 Upper Deck - Mitch Williams

It is perhaps fitting that my review of the 1993 Phillies World Series team should end with Mitch Williams. The dream of winning the 1993 World Series ended with one pitch by Mitch. This, along with the collapse of the 1964 Phillies, are probably two of the defining moments in Phillies history for my generation of Phillies fans. The other, of course, is the Phillies winning the 1980 World Series.

Williams was the 8th round draft pick of the Padres in 1982. In December of 1984, the Texas Rangers drafted him from the Padres in the Rule V draft, but returned him to the Padres in April of 1986. After the Padres got him back they immediately traded him back to the Rangers for a guy named Randy Asadoor. A year later he made his MLB pitching debut with the Rangers. He pitched 3 years for the Rangers. In 257 innings he saved 32 games, hit 24 batters, threw 14 wild pitches and walked 220 (while striking out 280).

In December 1988 the Rangers traded him to the Cubs in a multi-player deal which brought Rafael Palmeiro to the Rangers. Mitch had 36 saves for the Cubs in 1989 but only 16 in 1990. 1989 was his best year yet. Despite a strikeout to walk ratio of about 1, he had an ERA of only 2.76. It was with the Cubs that Mitch earned his nickname of Wild Thing.

The Cubs traded Williams to the Phillies on April 7, 1991 for Chuck McElroy and Bob Scanlan.

1993, as with many Phillies, was to be his best year. He saved 43 games but he also lost 7. He walked 44 and struck-out 60 with an ERA of 3.34. In 1993 he took to wearing number 99, the same as Rick "Wild Thing" Vaughn in the film Major League.

But Mitch Williams will always be known for the guy he didn't walk, or strike-out, or hit with a pitch. With one out and two runners on base in the home ninth inning of the World Series, Joe Carter blasted a 2-2 pitch out of the park, giving the Blue Jays an 8-6 victory and the series crown.

Mitch finished up his career with single seasons for the Astros (1994), Angels (1995), and Royals (1997). The Phillies actually signed him as a free agent in July of '96 but released him a month later without using him in a game. He only pitched about 37 innings from 1994 through 1997, earning 6 saves (all with the Astros).

According to Wikipedia, Mitch signed up with Comcast in Philadelphia in April 2007 for post-game analysis of Phillies games. He was also appearing on a local sports talk radio show in 2007. Maybe the Phillies fans have forgiven him.

Click here for the story of the Williams baseball card featured above.

This concludes my review of the 1993 Phillies as told by baseball cards. If you've stuck through with every installment I thank you. In a little while I'm going to start a similar review of the 1980 World Series winning team. Here's a preview.

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