15 Years After Loss, Phillies' 'Wild Thing' Forgiven In 1993, the Philadelphia Phillies' World Series hopes were dashed in Game 6. That's when the Toronto Blue Jays' Joe Carter hit Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams' fastball out of the park. Williams was branded a goat and soon traded to Houston. Now, as the Phillies fight to win this year's World Series, Williams offers his insight.
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15 Years After Loss, Phillies' 'Wild Thing' Forgiven

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15 Years After Loss, Phillies' 'Wild Thing' Forgiven

15 Years After Loss, Phillies' 'Wild Thing' Forgiven

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From NPR News, this is All Things Considered. I'm Michele Norris.


And I'm Robert Siegel. Now, a story of forgiveness and brotherly love from the city that is named for brotherly love and that leads in the weather-battered World Series of 2008. Philadelphia was last in the Series in 1993. They faced the world champion Toronto Blue Jays. Game 6 in Toronto: Phillies up by one in the bottom of the ninth; on the mound, their closer, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams; two runners on base; Toronto slugger Joe Carter at the plate; and announcer Tom Cheek at the microphone.

(Soundbite of 1993 World Series broadcast)

Mr. TOM CHEEK (Announcer, 1993 World Series): Two balls and two strikes on it. Here's a pitch on the way - a swing and a belt! Left field, way back! Blue Jays win it! The Blue Jays are World Series champions!

SIEGEL: And the Phillies? Well, they went home and took another 15 years to get to the Series. And Mitch Williams, "The Wild Thing," also went home. He's now a sports broadcaster in Philly, and he joins us from there. Welcome to the program.

Mr. MITCH WILLIAMS (Sports Broadcaster; Former Baseball Player, Philadelphia Phillies): Thank you very much.

SIEGEL: Heard that play by play a few times since 1993?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Yeah, just a couple.

SIEGEL: After it, you took some real abuse from some fans in Philadelphia.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, they were just being Philly fans, and I understood it. And I - there was nobody in this city that was anymore mad at me than I was.

SIEGEL: It used to be said of Philly fans that they booed at funerals. I mean, they're a tough lot to please.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well, there's been all kinds of sayings that they boo Santa Claus and cheer bad landings at the airport. But the one thing you can always say about them is they show up. And when you go out and give everything you got, they definitely get behind you.

SIEGEL: Do you still hear about it today, or have you been forgiven?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, I've been forgiven for it, I think. But I still hear about it every day. When you give up a home run to lose a World Series, it's not going away overnight.

SIEGEL: Now, I just didn't want you to minimize too much what happened when you came back from the World Series back in 1993. I mean, you did - did I read that your house had eggs thrown at it, or something like that?

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. When I called my house from Toronto that night after the game, my sister-and-law and brother-and-law were staying at our house, and 10 carloads of people showed up at the house throwing rocks and eggs and everything else at it.

SIEGEL: Ten carloads of people.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Yeah. And they - I guess they didn't understand I was renting the house. It didn't bother me much, but it really angered the guy that owned the house.

SIEGEL: But did somebody called the cops on this crowd...

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, yeah. There was police called out and everything else. So, yeah, I mean you get emotional reactions out of people. That's human nature. And I was traded, obviously, that winter. And the first trip back in here was Memorial Day in '94. And every time I walked out of the dugout, I got a standing ovation. So, the people, they understood that they got everything out of me I had in me every night I went out there.

SIEGEL: Yeah. We should just say you were a star on a team that had quite a few stars on it, actually. It was a very good club in...

Mr. WILLIAMS: Well, we had - I don't know about stars, but we had a bunch of characters, that's for sure. We had a bunch of guys that played the game the way I believe it ought to be played, and that's as hard as you can play it until the game is over. And it was a pure joy to play with guys like that.

SIEGEL: What about this team? What about the 2008 Phillies? What do you like about them?

Mr. WILLIAMS: The same thing I liked about our team. They never quit. I've watched this team down seven-nothing in the sixth inning, come back and win games. And they play 27 outs, and the offense never stops. The pitching's been outstanding. And right now they're in a great position in this World Series, granted it's - weather related it's been terrible, and they've had to deal with some adversity. But one thing about this team, they're the most even-keeled team I've ever seen in my life. They don't get too emotional one way or another, and they just come out and do the job at hand.

SIEGEL: Well, Mitch Williams, thanks a lot for talking with us. Of course we all know of you as "The Wild Thing" from 1993, but I gather in Philadelphia now you're almost professorial there in your role as a sports analyst and talk radio host.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Oh, I'm the voice of reason here now. Isn't that scary?

(Soundbite of laughter)

SIEGEL: OK. Well, thanks a lot for sharing your reason with us today. Mitch Williams, thanks a lot.

Mr. WILLIAMS: Thank you.

SIEGEL: Mitch Williams was a pitcher for the Philadelphia Phillies. It was his fastball down and in that Joe Carter hit out of the park to win the 1993 World Series for the Toronto Blue Jays. At our Web site, you can hear more of our conversation, including Williams' advice to the next player unlucky enough to get blamed for losing the World Series. That's at npr.org. And for you non-baseball fans, we should remind you the Phillies are once again in the World Series, and they could win it all tonight, or not.

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