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“Wild Thing” and Morandini Wow Hot Stove League Attendees

The 1993 National League champion Philadelphia Phillies are fondly remembered by their fans in Philly and beyond as a colorful, scrappy aggregation that completely exceeded everyone’s expectations. Two members of this memorable and zany crew, Mitch “Wild Thing” Williams and Mickey Morandini were on hand at the recent 12th Annual Williamsport Crosscutters Hot Stove League Banquet held at the Genetti Hotel.

“We were an odd mix of guys, and nobody had any expectations about us, because the writers and the so-called ‘people in the know’, were picking us for last place since we had finished last in 1992,” “Wild Thing” Williams said. “It took all the pressure off of us, and we just went out and had fun and played good baseball.”

Williams said the team had the reputation as a carousing, partying type of crew which many people believed went out and partied out in bars and bistros but he said they did most of their drinking of adult beverages in the clubhouse after games and many times staying there until the wee hours of the morning. Some even sleeping there until game time the next day.

“I can’t begin to tell you how much beer we consumed after games that year,” Williams said. “But I think the experience of being together like that promoted a lot of camaraderie and made us a better team. We always looked out for each other and became a tightly knit team.”

Morandini echoes this, “They were a great bunch of guys, and the fans of Philadelphia really loved us, because they thought we were a bunch of lunch pail guys that reflected the work ethic of our fans. Even though we lost the World Series, I have had many fans say that they have a fonder place in their heart for us than the two Phillies teams that won championships in 1980 and 2008.”

He said the team leader was the late Darren “Dutch” Daulton, who was a consistent All-Star.

“Jim Fregosi was our manager and filled in the line-up card, but he always went to “Dutch” if he needed us to
do anything or straighten out any disciplinary or other kind of problems. He was our leader, our guy.”

In recent years there have been rumors that some members of that team may have used performance-enhancing drugs. In the period with the media before the banquet, I asked both Williams and Morandini about this.

Williams was very defensive about this allegation.

“I don’t know how that bit of gossip got started, but it’s not true,” Williams told me. “My locker was right
next to and near most of the guys, and I would have known about that type of thing.”

Morandini was a little less emphatic.

“In those days there was a lot of that kind of stuff going on throughout baseball, so I suppose that it is
possible that some of it could have taken place on our team.”

Both of them consider their time with the 1993 Phillies a special time in their lives and the 1993 season as a special season for them. A time that they both treasure.

Morandini was the manager of the Williamsport Crosscutters in 2011 and have fond memories of his year here.

“The fans here are great and are very knowledgeable,” Morandi said. “I really enjoyed managing that team. That team included eight players that went on to play for the Phillies, including Maikel Franco, Aaron Altherr, Brock Stassi, Adam Morgan and Hector Neris. I think we just barely missed making the playoffs.”

Morandini went on to manage at the Double-A level for the Phillies and was first base coach for two seasons. Currently, he is a “team ambassador” for the Phils, performing various public relations functions for the team.

Williams is involved with a trucking and transportation company in Texas, where he now lives.

This year’s Hot Stove Banquet raised $6,300 that benefited the Original League.

Also happening at the banquet, inducted into the Bowman Field Hall of Fame was Bill Nichols, the City of Williamsport’s Finance Director and head of River Valley Transit.

The 2018 Sports Walk of Fame honorees were also inducted. They are the late Blaise Alexander, Jr., an accomplished stock car driver, the late Bill Pickelner, who has garnered the nickname “Williamsport’s Mr. Baseball,” for all that he has done for that sport in this area, as well as a his role as owner of Williamsport’s one-time professional basketball team, the Williamsport Billies of the Eastern Basketball Association, and finally, the late Dr. Creighton Hale, who served as President and CEO of Little League Baseball International Inc. from 1973 to 1994.

The Williamsport Crosscutters open their 2018 season on June 15 at home against the State College Spikes.

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