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Memories of The Pitch still linger

Rickey Henderson danced daringly off second base. Paul Molitor stood his ground at first. The SkyDome crowd of 52,195 pulsed.

On the mound, Mitch Williams stared in for the sign. He shook off one, then, working out of a slide-step motion to hold Henderson close, began his delivery.

At the plate, Joe Carter was not looking for fame. His team trailed 6-5 in the ninth inning of Game 6 of the World Series. The tying run was at second. There was one out. The count was 2-2.

Williams' offering, supposed to be a fastball high and away, darted home low and in. Carter swung. The ball soared toward the leftfield fence and and and you know the rest.

Williams and Carter are linked by what many consider the most dramatic moment in World Series history. Only one previous World Series ended on a home run (see: 1960, Ralph Terry/Bill Mazeroski).

The Philadelphia Phillies and Toronto Blue Jays will be back on the field together Saturday afternoon, in the quaint trappings of Dunedin Stadium, for the first time since that historic night of Oct. 23.

The squads will look relatively the same. Dave Stewart, who started Game 6, will be on the mound again. Molitor is back. Carter will be there but likely won't play since he reported to camp just Tuesday.

Williams, though, won't make it. He was traded to Houston. Henderson signed with Oakland. Phils starter Terry Mulholland was traded to the New York Yankees.

Before Stewart throws the ball for the first time, it is worth revisiting The Pitch.

On the mound, Williams began the end by sliding his right foot forward. With one out, it was important to keep Henderson, the tying run, from getting to third. Williams _ acting, he said, upon the instruction of Phillies catcher Darren Daulton _ used a slide-step delivery, which is designed to speed the motion toward home plate.

Williams, though, was a bit uncomfortable. He never had used the slide step until the Phils asked him to in the post-season.

"They wanted me to quicken up to the plate," Williams said. "Daulton wanted me to. And that was fine. I'm not blaming anything on anybody. But that was the only thing I'd change; I'd throw from a full motion. That was my only regret of the whole Series was the 2-2 pitch to Carter, the one he hit out, that I didn't throw from a full motion."

As for the pitch itself? "I know exactly what happened on it," Williams said. "It was a fastball, and I jerked it down and in. It was so bad, Joe thought it was a slider. I didn't have to replay it. I know in my head where the pitch was. It wasn't where it was supposed to be."

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