Death threats against reliever Mitch Williams after he lost Game 4 of the World Series hurt the entire team, teammate Dave Hollins says.
Williams lost a night's sleep and police were called to guard his house after the callers threatened his life, Hollins said, with repercussions days later.The third baseman and the rest of the team stood up for Williams, who did not fly back to the city with his teammates Sunday afternoon. Williams allowed a three-run homer to Joe Carter in the ninth inning of game 6 Saturday night. It gave the Toronto Blue Jays an 8-6 victory and their second straight World Series championship.
Williams instead flew to his offseason home in Texas, Philadelphia television station WPVI-TV reported Sunday.
Players and team officials said after Saturday night's game that Williams had received death threats after blowing a 14-9 in Game 4, which the Phillies lost 15-14.
Hollins spoke about the death threats in an interview taped Saturday night.
"The thing that upsets me, and I'll say it now, and I'm glad we're on Philly TV:
"If you guys, whoever they were, thought they were being cool or tough, a few death threats they gave Mitch, back in Philadelphia, I don't know if they think they were helping us or what, but they hurt us," Hollins said.
"The guy didn't sleep the whole night. He missed the workout yesterday, and he slept 20-some hours - 22 hours - making up for it yesterday. And I don't think he was feeling right today.
"That kind of rubbed me the wrong way. Because I saw how it affected Mitch, you know he didn't sleep the whole night, he had police around his house," Hollins said.
"That kind of stuff, you don't know about it, you don't think it happens in the game, in baseball, then you get in the World Series and you see it happen, and it's just not right."
In the gloomy Phillies lockerroom, Williams wasn't about to blame death threats or anything else for losing two games.
"Well, we got here, and I let us down," he said. "So I'm not going to sit here and make excuses to nobody. I just didn't get it done."
Asked to reflect on what he could take away from the experience, he said: "Obviously, what I take out of it is a loss. The only thing that's different about it is, I managed to lose two games in the World Series."
After that, Phillies pitcher Terry Mulholland ended the interview, leading Williams away from reporters to a private team meeting.
Catcher Darren Daulton and other Phillies countered the questions about Williams with a similar argument:
"We would not be here without Mitch Williams, and I told him that after the game," Daulton said. "He had nothing to hang his head about. That guy (Carter) gets paid to hit, and he came on top this time. You've got to tip your hat to him."
Like Williams, Daulton also didn't return to Philadelphia on the team plane.
Never mind his nickname, "Wild Thing," for some of his other heart-stopping performances in late-inning relief. Fregosi, too, insisted that he hadn't lost confidence in Williams.
"Well, Mitch Williams has been our closer all year. I'm not going to change that, because he's the guy that's done it for us," Fregosi said. "I just told him a few minutes ago, that he's the one that got us this far. And I'm not going to change."
Williams entered the game with a 6-5 lead. He walked Rickey Henderson on four pitches and got Devon White on a fly before Paul Molitor, the World Series MVP, singled. Then Carter followed with his shot to left.