I was on my computer the other night "wanderclicking", the art of starting somewhere on YouTube or Wikipedia and ending in a completely different place, and came across a Coca-Cola commercial celebrating the 1993 World Champion Toronto Blue Jays, with its catchy jingle, and it led me to search out for the finish of the 1993 World Series. I had seen it before, but still is exciting to watch, and I had never noticed it before how Mitch Williams looked so dejected after Joe Carter's home run blast that made him a hero to a nation and Williams a pariah in the worst sports city in America.
Going into the 1993 World Series, Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams had just racked up a career high 43 saves as he helped lead the upstart Philadlephia Phillies to a surprising playoff berth. Williams had an unconventional pitching delivery as he almost fell down every time he threw a ball. It was odd, but it worked.
Joe Carter almost didn't play for the Jays in 1993, Carter was close to a deal with his hometown Kansas City Royals, but opted to re-sign with Toronto. Carter was an All-Star in '93 and tied a career high in RBI's with 121. However, he only hit .254 and his on base percentage was a paltry .312.
The Phillies entered the playoffs as underdogs to the mighty Atlanta Braves. Mitch Williams won Game 1 for the Phillies in relief and saved two games, including the series clinching Game 6 in Philadelphia. The Phillies had stunned the Atlanta Braves and were on their way to the World Series.
The Blue Jays faced the Chicago White Sox for the American League pennant a second straight year. The Jays eventually prevailed over the White Sox as Joe Carter caught the final out. Carter was pretty much a non-factor in the series, only driving in two runs and hitting .259.
The Blue Jays and Phillies were now to square off for the 1993 World Series. The series went back and forth through the first three games with Toronto winning Games 1 and 3 and the Phillies winning Game 2.
Game 4 was the beginning of the end for Mitch Williams. The game was full of offense with seven combined runs scored in the first inning and Philadelphia took a 14-9 lead heading into the eighth inning. Phillies manager Jim Fregosi put Williams into the game to relieve pitcher Larry Andersen and promptly gave up three runs as the Jays took a 15-14 lead that they never relinquished. Williams was the losing pitcher of that game and had received death threats phoned into Veterans Stadium. Williams, however, was not aware of the threats until Game 5.
After the Phillies shutout the Jays in Game 5, they headed North of the Border for Game 6. The Phillies took a 6-5 lead heading into the bottom of the ninth and looked like they were going to force Game 7. Williams took the mound to save the game, his first appearance since his Game 4 debacle and the notification of death threats.
Williams walked Rickey Henderson to start the inning and because of that Williams tried to counter Henderson's speed by using a side step delivery that cut down his velocity. After Devon White flied out, Paul Molitor singled to center and moved Henderson to second. Up to the plate stepped Joe Carter. Carter, who was unproductive in the World Series at this point, was 0-4 in his career versus Williams. Williams worked Carter to a 2-2 count when Carter took Williams' next pitch into the left field seats for an 8-6 win and the Jays' second World Series title.
With one swing of the bat Carter became a hero in Canada. His exuberant jumping up and down while running the bases is an iconic photo in baseball and made many memories for the province of Ontario and all of Canada. Carter became a Blue Jays legend after that, staying until 1997 and was inducted into the Blue Jays Level of Excellence at Rogers Centre, formerly SkyDome. Carter was also inducted into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for his years with Toronto and the walk off home run.
Mitch Williams would never pitch for the Phillies after 1993. The Phillies traded him to the Houston Astros prior to the start of the 1994 season. Williams would only save six games for the Astros and bounced around from the California Angels to the Kansas City Royals after leaving Houston. He would never be the same pitcher again. Williams retired after the 1997 season after an uneventful season in Kansas City. Williams has blames himself for the World Series loss, but added that he has gotten past it.
However, he hasn't gotten past Curt Schilling's antics in the '93 Series. Schilling would cover his head in a towel whenever Williams took the mound as Schilling was always a little leery whenever Williams came into the game. Williams was offended by this, as were many of his teammates, and to this day has never forgiven Schilling for it.
You would have to wonder if Williams' career would have been changed had he not given up that home run. Philadelphia probably wouldn't have traded him and he could have been playing for more than just four more seasons. That's how life works out sometimes and you have to roll with the punches. I think Mitch Williams himself said it best when he was talking about his feelings regarding the Carter home run, "Life's a bitch. I could be digging ditches. I'm not."