Thru Cub Eyes: Mitch Williams
The Wild Thing. Sutcliffe has the best quote with relation to this weekís featured player. ìI pitch like Iím in a lawn chair. He pitches like his hair is on fire.î Williams does seem very low key, however, once off the mound. Enjoy this excerpt from Carrie Muskatís compilation Banks to Sandberg to Grace.
Sure, I remember Opening Day. I came in in the eighth and got out of the eighth with a one-run lead. I had to bat in the bottom of the eighth in my first game in the National League, and I hadnít hit since I was 18 years old. Then I go back out in the ninth and the first three guys get broken bat singles. And then I strike the next three guys out. Schmidt? Either heís going to beat you or heíll get out.
My first year was good, but my second year I tore a ligament in my knee and the team didnít do too well. Me and Zim got along really well. He knew what my capabilities were. He was really the first manager who let me go out there and do what I did. He knew I was going to get in trouble. He was the first one who gave me enough rope to hang myself with.
Thr trade to come to the Cubs, I was ecstatic about. I was happy about the trade to the Phillies at the time. Myself and Jim Frey didnít get along at all. The way the trade was handled was bad and all that. I was glad it was made. I save 36 games, we win the division, then I tear ligaments in my knee, and the next year Iím given seven save opportunities. I was 7 for 7 and I didnít pitch. Frey told me two days before we break camp that Iím not getting traded, then we went to Chicago, and I move into my apartment and he trades me. I think it had more to do with Frey that it did with Zim.
The Wild Thing didnít bother me. Iíve been called a lot worse. Thereís all kind of things they couldíve called me. I just didnít want people confusing the nickname with who I was. Off the field I donít consider myself wild in any way. Dick Pole wasnít real keen on it. They played the song twice in Wrigley and I blew two saves, and he had them stop.
I didnít think it was tough to pitch there. People make a big deal about the wind blowing out. For the first two months of the season you canít hit a ball out of there. It helps you as much as hurts you. I think it evens out. You just go out there and pitch, and they have to hit the ball solid.
Being a reliever was perfect for me. I couldnít sit for four days. If I was a starter, Iíd weigh 400 lbs. I like coming to the ballpark with a chance to play every day.