Tuesday, June 17, 2014

#235 Mitch Williams

About the Front: Look at this photo and tell me that Mitch Williams wasn't the inspiration for Kenny Powers.

About the Back: Believe it or not, Mitch's 80 games pitched in 1986 are not a rookie record. Lefty Sean Runyan had 88 appearances for the Tigers in 1998. Makes my arm hurt just thinking about it.

Triple Play:

1. On July 2, 1993, the Phillies and Padres played a rain-plagued doubleheader that took 12 hours to complete. Williams pitched the ninth and tenth innings in the nightcap, and in the bottom of the tenth he batted for himself with two runners on base and one out. He lined a pitch from San Diego rookie Trevor Hoffman into left-center field, giving himself the win and a walkoff hit in his final career plate appearance. This momentous occasion took place at 4:41 AM, making it the latest (or earliest, depending on your perspective) plate appearance in MLB history.

2. That Mitch collected 192 saves with a career rate of 7.1 walks per nine innings tells you both how hard it was to hit him, and how overrated the closer role can be.

3. In addition to his duties as an MLB Network analyst, he is a Little League coach and a full-time Grade A dipshit.

11-Year-Old Kevin Says: I remember John Kruk telling a funny anecdote about trading his #28 to Williams when the latter player arrived in Philadelphia in 1991. Kruk received a case of beer in the transaction. But a year later, Mitch switched to #99 and the beer was long gone. Compared to more recent player deals over uniform numbers involving cash, the portly first baseman felt shortchanged.

Bill James Said: (Regarding Williams' poor performance in the 1993 World Series) "Boiled down, there are two key questions: will Fregosi lose confidence in him (he will not), and will Williams be the same pitcher after the winter (yes, he will-because for one thing, he has been through this before after the 1989 playoffs)." Somebody lost confidence in Mitch, because he was traded to the Astros for Doug Jones and subsequently fell apart, totaling 37.1 innings with three MLB teams over the next four seasons, walking 52 and striking out 40 with a lofty 7.96 ERA. Oof.

On This Date in 1993: June 17. It's a slugfest in Motown, as the Indians and Tigers combine for eight home runs in a 9-5 Detroit win. Carlos Baerga hits three homers to account for all five Tribe runs, all against Tigers starter Mike Moore. Travis Fryman and Dan Gladden each go deep twice, and Rob Deer's three-run homer in the sixth inning puts Detroit on top for good.

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