Wild Thing, you broke some Philly hearts, Thing. You made everything goofy, Wild Thing.

I suppose it had to end this way, with a reliever failing. It was only fitting that this wild, unpredictable World Series, which was ruled by long counts, long games and shallow bullpens, would end with Mitch Williams walking off the mound and Joe Carter running triumphantly around the bases.

Years from now, it will be remembered that way, with Carter coming home the way Bill Mazeroski, the only other player to end a Series with a home run, did in 1960.

You had to feel good for Carter, an affable, smiling player who is the best RBI man of his generation. But you also had to feel sorry for Williams, who went out one too many times with average stuff and earned himself a lasting place among Series goats.

History will always remember it was Williams who surrendered Carter's three-run homer in the last of the ninth, giving the Jays an 8-6 triumph and their second straight World Series championship.

With Rickey Henderson at second base and Paul Molitor at first, Williams got too much of the plate with a 2-2 fastball. Carter put it over the left-field fence and put Williams alongside such famous home-run victims as Ralph Branca and Ralph Terry.

"I threw the pitch, and he hit it out," Williams said moments later, as what seemed like half the media in North America swelled near his locker.

He was there, anyway. One thing about Wild Thing: He doesn't hide. Just as he had after the 15-14 nightmare, he was right there after the game to discuss it.

"I was trying to go away from him," Williams said. "You try to stay away from a guy's strength, and he's an inside hitter. But I didn't make the pitch I wanted to make.

"I have no excuses at all," he said. "I want the ball. I got the ball, and I didn't get the job done."

He certainly wasn't alone in that regard. It didn't matter whether it was Dave Stewart's game or Williams', whether the margin was five runs or four, whether the game was played in the Vet or the SkyDome or in Florida, where the Jays and Phils train three miles apart every spring.

No lead was safe.

Carter's home run will be remembered years from now. So will the 15-14 carnival of Game Four, one of the oddest and most eventful games ever played. But the fact was, this Series wasn't nearly as well-played as the last two.

Why? There is simply not enough good pitching to go around. It was shaky enough before, but the addition of two expansion teams only watered it down further.

How can you explain the fact that two former Buffalo Bisons, Roger Mason and Danny Cox, were pitching in the game at the same time?

How else can you explain David West, who had retired only three of the 15 men he'd faced over two World Series, being brought into the game with the Phillies leading by one run in the eighth?

Naturally, West walked his man and quickly departed. Somehow Larry Andersen got through the rest of the eighth, but then it was time for Williams in the ninth.

By that time, calling for Williams was like calling an arsonist with your kitchen on fire. Phils manager Jim Fregosi should have offered Wild Thing a last meal and a cigarette.

But he'd been their salvation all season, saving 43 games in the regular season. Fregosi thought he had no choice. Williams was his stopper. He had become known for creating trouble and somehow extricating himself from it.

There was a certain magical charm about Wild Thing and his pyrotechnic relief pitching. But there was nothing charming about it in the Series.

"I felt great coming to the mound," Williams said. "I felt very, very good."

All over Philadelphia, on the other hand, people had their heads covered in towels. The more religious were on their knees. They know the guy.

He walked Rickey Henderson on four pitches to start the ninth. Which is what he always does.

So now, would Gaston have Devon White take a pitch? Would he have him bunt? White took a called strike. Then he stepped out. Then Williams threw over to first.

Would Gaston have Rickey steal? Would White bunt now? Williams stepped off, threw over again, and Henderson got back. Then Williams threw ball one. And ball two, high.

He threw over again. Then strike two. Then a foul. He threw over again. Another foul. This was now a typical 1993 Series at-bat. Another foul. Then Williams threw low.

Three-and-two. That should be the name of the highlight tape for this Series. White flied out to Pete Incaviglia for the first out.

Now it was Paul Molitor, the toughest out on Earth now. Ball one. A foul ball. He lined a hit to center, and Dykstra came up throwing to hold Henderson at second.

"Molitor got the hit, and I still felt good," Williams said. "I still felt I could get out of it. But I didn't."

Williams went his typical 2-0 on Carter. Then he threw a called strike. Carter swung mightily at the next pitch and missed. Two-and-two. Then Williams got the fastball in a bad place, and Carter hit it out to left.

"I made a mistake," Williams said, "and he hit the mistake."

Carter rounded first and leaped into the air. Security guards came running onto the field to apprehend the few Canadians foolish enough to violate the field. Streamers came out, and Canadian flags. Fireworks went off.

After Carter rounded third, one of the batboys came out and quickly retrieved the base and ran into the dugout with it.

Several of the Phillies sat motionless in the visitors' dugout, uncomprehending, unwilling to accept that they could have come back so valiantly in the Series and still come up short.

Williams was long gone by now. On his way to the locker room and the waiting questioners. Into his dubious place in history.