David Wells was Ruthian
, both in girth and in his love of the Babe's baseball memorabilia. He once wore an actual Babe Ruth baseball cap onto the field and pitched an inning. The game-used cap, from 1934, set Wells back a cool $35 K. When Torre made him take it off for the second inning, he responded by blowing a 3-run lead. The Yankees went on to lose 12-8.
But this post isn't about David Wells. Its about Mitch Williams. He too was a fan of the memorabilia. He collected a different kind of cap. You see, Mitch was a fan of the Smurfs
, Papa Smurf to be more specific. Some say that the Smurf leader was instrumental in teaching Williams that awkward, fall-off-the-mound delivery. That cannot be proven, but one thing we do know is that Mitch Williams liked that red cap.
I do not believe he had to pay quite the sum Wells paid for his hero's hat, but like Wells, Williams chose to don his cap in the field of play in 1992. And also like Wells, the manager, Jim Fregosi
made him remove his red cap, as it did not conform to uniform standards.
Williams' performance was not not immediately affected by his lose. He saved 29 games for the Phils
that year. He went on to save 43 more in 1993. But then fate had its day. The "dead-baseball great/cartoon celebrity" gods
intervened in game 6 of the 1993 World Series. Joe Carter blasted one to left field and Phillie fans united in hating Mitch Williams. John Kruk
even wanted to kill him, but didn't when he found out that it was illegal to do so.
Was it the cap, or the fact he had to take off?
Since then, Joe Carter was inducted into to Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame
and has appeared on Pro vs. Joes
. It makes me wonder what cap he was forced to take off.