"That had nothing to do with tonight," Williams said after Game 6. "I blew it. Ain't nobody in this world feels worse right now than I do. When someone threatens my life, it doesn't make me feel worse than I feel now. No one's going to scare me. No one will make me hide. I'm proud of what I've done."
According to Williams, 28, his wildness has infuriated people since he and his older brother Bruce-a former minor league pitcher who, in his six-year career, was even wilder than Mitch- played catch in the front yard as kids. "Mothers would scream to their kids, 'Get in the house, the Williams boys are playing catch!' " said Mitch. "We broke a lot of windows."
The Texas Rangers acquired Mitch from the San Diego Padres in 1985, but in his first major league camp that year, he hit so many teammates in batting practice that they refused to hit against him. Later that spring a number of veterans pleaded with manager Doug Rader to keep Williams off the team for fear that one of his pitches might seriously hurt someone, prompting opposing pitchers to retaliate against Ranger batters.
Williams reached the majors in '86, but he was so wild that he once hit three of the first five Baltimore Oriole batters he faced. Yet through all the walks and hit batsmen, the bad outings and the booing he took first in Texas, then while with the Chicago Cubs (1989-90) and since '91 with the Phillies, Williams has always taken the ball. He has never complained. He has bounced back with strong outings after blown saves. But Game 6 represented the ultimate blown save for the Wild Thing.
Williams said he will forget about Game 6 "in no time," but fans will undoubtedly remind him about it for the rest of his life. "I wouldn't wish what happened to Mitch on my worst enemy," said Schilling. "Think of what's going to be heaped on him."
Williams approaches that prospect with an attitude befitting a big league closer. "If anyone in this room can deal with it," he said, "I'm the one."