West Linn baseball changed forever with Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams
Of all the notable alumni to come out of West Linn High School, Mitch Williams is arguably one of the most famous. He is recognized by many as the “Wild Thing” who suffered a blown save by giving up a walk-off home run in the 1993 World Series against the Toronto Blue Jays. What many people don’t know, however, is that he was drafted out of West Linn by the San Diego Padres at the ripe old age of 18.
Williams was born in 1964 in Santa Ana, Calif., but attended high school at West Linn. He joined the San Diego Padres in the eighth round of the 1982 amateur draft when he was a high school senior.
After joining the Padres, Williams had stints with the Texas Rangers and the Chicago Cubs. With the Rangers, he had his first major league debut. With the Cubs, Williams earned the name “Wild Thing” (based off the character Rick “Wild Thing” Vaughn, played by Charlie Sheen in the film “Major League”) for his unpredictable, wild pitches and large wind-ups.
In 1991, the Cubs traded Williams to the Philadelphia Phillies. He earned a save in Game 2 of the 1993 World Series, but ended up losing it in Game 4 (the highest-scoring game in World Series history). The Toronto Blue Jays managed to take a 15-14 victory and a 3-1 series lead. Phillies fans were utterly devastated at Williams’ loss of the series. To this day he remains most infamous for the event.
No matter the turn his career took, the fact still remains that Williams remains an inspiration for anyone at West Linn who wants to pursue a future career in Major League baseball. With stellar athletics programs (including baseball) improving, Williams is just living proof that a West Linn student can go on to become anything. With the “Wild Thing,” West Linn High School’s legacy lived on.
Now retired, Williams lives in New Jersey and works as a studio analyst for the Major League Baseball network. He has inspired many athletes here at school, and proves that no matter how young, any athelete can reach great heights.