Wells finds perfection in the Bronx in 1998

Wells made it in old New York

David Wells

David Wells was always one of the game’s better left-handers during his 21-year major league career. But it was in New York where he became something of a legend.

Signing with the Yankees to a free agent contract prior to the 1997 season, the man known as “Boomer” went on to have two very good years in the Bronx, the second as a vital cog in the Bombers’ championship run and record-setting 114-win regular season. It was also in 1998 that he carved his name in Yankee lore.

Pitching at Yankee Stadium against the Minnesota Twins on May 17 with what he later described as a “raging, skull-rattling hangover,” the colorful Wells faced the minimum 27 batters, striking out 11, in throwing only the second perfect game in Yankee history. The first was thrown during the 1956 World Series by Don Larsen, who coincidentally attended the same high school as Wells, Point Loma High School in San Diego.

Wells would be traded to the Toronto Blue Jays for Roger Clemens the following spring and it was here where he enjoyed his only 20-win season in 2000. Stops with the Chicago White Sox, Boston Red Sox, Yankees, San Diego Padres and Los Angeles Dodgers would follow before he retired after the 2007 season. But the Bronx faithful will always remember Wells – the 1998 ALCS MVP and ardent Babe Ruth fan who once wore one of the Bambino’s vintage caps in a game – as a “true Yankee.”

Viewers can check out Wells’ mastery over the Twins that May afternoon when ESPN Classic airs a replay of his perfect game on Friday, May 15.

Full name: David Lee Wells

Birth date: May 20, 1963

Birthplace: Torrance, Calif.

Height/weight: 6 feet 3 inches/248pounds

Batted/threw: Left/left

Teams: Toronto Blue Jays (1987-92, 1999-2000); Detroit Tigers (1993-95); Cincinnati Reds (1995); Baltimore Orioles (1996); New York Yankees (1997-98, 2002-03); Chicago White Sox (2001); San Diego Padres (2004, 2006-07); Boston Red Sox (2005-06); Los Angeles Dodgers (2007)

Career record: 239-157

ERA: 4.13

Strikeouts: 2,201

Honors and achievements: Three-time All-Star (1995, 1998, 2000); World Series champion (1992, 1998); ALCS MVP (1998); American League wins leader (2000)

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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