Mitch "Wild Thing" Williams heads the list
He had a blazing fastball and he was just wild enough that batters were often afraid to step into the box against him. If that description doesn't ring any bells, maybe his nickname, The Wild Thing, will do the trick.
Mitch Williams didn't come by his famous nickname until he had become an established pitcher in the major leagues. When he was a pitcher for his high school team in West Linn, Williams was just simply scary. He was also very good. Good enough, in fact, that Williams led the Lions to the state championship in 1982. Soon afterward, he signed his first pro contract.
During an 11-year big-league career, Williams logged 192 saves, which ranks 39th on the all-time major league career list. He had four seasons in which he logged at least 29 saves, including the 1993 campaign when he saved 43 games for the National League champion Philadelphia Phillies.
Now, 24 years after he graduated, Williams finds himself as one of the members of the first induction class to the West Linn High School Athletic Hall of Fame. He was one of 11 individuals and four teams that were recently selected for induction.
In addition to Williams, the group includes Sam Nixon, John Paul Brown, Rueben Baisch, Nancy Ware, Clark Hoss, Andrea Johnson-Effgen, Dan Browne, Rosie Wustrack, Katrina deBoer and Evan Kelty.
Nixon, who graduated in 1930, starred in football, basketball and baseball; Brown was a teacher and coach at West Linn from 1928 to 1960, and Baisch (a member of the class of '44) competed in football, wrestling and baseball.
Ware, who graduated in 1956, is being inducted for her contributions to the district and West Linn High School; Hoss (a '67 graduate) competed in football, basketball and track and is now an instructor at the school.
Johnson-Effgen, from the class of 1991, was a soccer star; Browne (a track star from the class of '93) performed in the Summer Olympics in 2004; Wustrack (class of '94) starred in volleyball, basketball and tennis; while deBoer (class of '95) starred in cross country and track; and Kelty (class of '98) left his mark on the track as well as the football field.
Other first-year inductees include the 1948 boys swim team, which won the first-ever state swimming championship offered by the OSAA. The 1950 and 1951 girls swim teams, who won state titles both years, also will be inducted. The list also includes West Linn's 1978 state championship baseball team, which was coached by Terry Pollreisz.
They will be honored during a ceremony at Willamette Valley Country Club on Saturday, Oct. 14.