I’ve read a few articles looking back on Mitch Williams and his fateful pitch to Joe Carter in the 1993 World Series, but here’s something new from the former Phillies reliever after he sat down with the former Jays slugger to talk about their shared moment in history for an upcoming MLB Network special:
According to Williams, the first time he used the slide step while pitching out of the stretch came after Rickey Henderson led off that fateful ninth inning with a walk.
After issuing the leadoff walk to Henderson, a future Hall of Famer, Williams said he was told to use the slide step instead of a high leg kick in order to keep baseball’s all-time leading base stealer from stealing second.
Following Henderson, Devon White flew out to left center field. Then another Hall of Famer, Paul Molitor, hit a single to center field, putting runners on first and second with one out and bringing up Carter.
The count was 2 and 2 after Carter chased, but couldn’t catch, a slider. Imagine that! Williams then proceeded to shake off catcher Darren Daulton’s call for a repeat of the slider, hoping to surprise Carter with a fastball high and away.
According to Carter:
In my mind he had to come back with that pitch. When he shook off that pitch I thought he was messing with me. I felt he had to come with a breaking ball.
According to Williams:
I either wanted to strike him out or get a lazy fly ball where it does no damage. If the ball is up in the zone and it’s away from Joe, he can’t hit it out of the park. Almost as soon as it left my hands, I knew I made a mistake. I knew if I had gone with my full leg kick and actually rushed because I know how to elevate a fastball and throw a fastball up and away, he either swings through it or he hits a fly-ball out.
Instead, Carter pounded the pitch to left field and the Blue Jays won the World Series for the second time.