David Wells was often known as the ‘bad boy’ of major league baseball over his career.
Known mostly for his personality, Wells had a stellar career on the diamond.
He played most of his career for the New York Yankees and Toronto Blue Jays.
Let’s take a look at some of the highlights of Wells’ career and what happened to him.
Wells Growing Up
Wells was born on May 20, 1963 in Torrance, California.
His mother, Eugenia, was a biker who went by the handle “Attitude Annie.”
Wells did not know who his father was until he met him at 22 years old.
Wells’ mom’s friends would attend young Wells’ little league games to root for him and give him a dollar for every strikeout and five dollars for winning the game.
Most of the time, they would owe him more than $100 after the games.
Wells pitched for his high school team at Point Loma in California and led them to the 1981 and 1982 city championship.
This was around the same time Wells started to show a problem with authority and rules in general.
His coaches would learn that Wells would plan to walk the bases loaded and then strike out the side, which he would do often.
As a senior, Wells pitched a perfect game and was nicknamed “Boomer” because of his booming personality.
Signed by the Blue Jays
At 18 years old, Wells was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays.
The Jays sent Wells to Alberta, Canada in which he was not happy about at all.
He had limited success while he was there and had a ERA above 5.
In 1985, he would have Tommy John Surgery.
He didn’t make his Major league debut until 1987 as a reliever.
Wells would get his first World Series ring with the team in 1992.
Jays Release Wells
The team had grown tired of Wells’ temper, inconsistency, weight problems, and drinking beer after 1992.
David Wells enjoys a cigar in the Blue Jays locker room: pic.twitter.com/KdLSdRlb
— SI Vault (@si_vault) September 26, 2011
Gord Ash, who was the Jays general manager at the time released him saying that they tried everything to control him.
He was immediately signed by the Detroit Tigers on a two-year deal.
In 1993, he went 11-9 as a starter and had a 3.96 ERA.
Two years later, Wells would play for the Reds and Orioles.
Signs With Yankees
After the 1996 season, Wells became a free agent and signed with the New York Yankees.
His favorite team was the New York Yankees because he was a huge Babe Ruth fan.
Wells asked to wear Babe’s number 3 as a Yankee but was quickly denied so he wore the number 33 instead.
May 17, 1998, would become the game that changed Wells’ life forever.
He pitched the 2nd perfect game in Yankees history when he beat the Minnesota Twins 4-0.
Wells’ perfect game was the 15th in MLB history.
On this date in 1998, Yankees pitcher David Wells threw a perfect game against the Minnesota Twins at Yankee Stadium.
Wells had 11 strikeouts in the game, which was the 1st perfect game by a Yankee since Don Larsen's World Series perfect game in 1956. pic.twitter.com/iqFzv22xNC
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 17, 2020
Wells went 18-4 with a 3.49 ERA and finished 3rd in Cy Young Voting in 1998.
He was also the ALCS MVP in 1998 for the Yankees.
Later, he confessed that he pitched that game with a hangover from partying the night before, a fact that fellow partygoer and comedian Jimmy Fallon validated.
— Scott Stanford (@scottstanford1) May 21, 2018
Wells was never afraid of ruffling feathers so it was not surprising that his 2003 autobiography Perfect I’m Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches and Baseball did not please the Yankees or MLB.
It was released right before the 2003 season, and it addressed the hangover-fueled perfect game among other things.
Ironically, his then-teammate Roger Clemens did not think he should have shared so many details about the perfect game.
Clemens’ words were almost haunting, given his own reputation now for using steroids:
”You don’t want younger people reading that and thinking they can get away with going out and having a lifestyle like that and pitching a ballgame. Maybe some of that should be kept private. A lot of people look up to him.”
The Yankees ended up trading Wells back to the Blue Jays in a deal for Roger Clemens in 1999.
— #TodayInSports (@TodayInSports3) July 10, 2019
During the next two seasons he went 37-15 for the Jays.
But, he was then released and signed with the Chicago White Sox.
However, Wells had back problems and this would prove to be a bad deal for the Sox.
Wells found his way back to the Yankees for a second stint in 2002.
In 2003, he earned his 200th win and had a 15-7 record.
He was later released after the season and would have stints with the Padres and Red Sox.
Wells retired in 2007 and ended his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers.
He ended his career with 239 wins and 157 losses, 2,201 strikeouts, and an ERA of 4.13.
Though he may never be in the Hall of Fame because of his high ERA, Wells left his mark on the game.
Wells is a dynamic character so a broadcasting career seemed like a foregone conclusion.
He has worked for TBS, FoxSports.com, and Yankee Entertainment and Sports Network (YES).
He also regularly attends celebrations at Yankee Stadium like Old Timer’s Day and receives a big ovation when he is introduced.
Wells has also coached his alma mater Point Loma High School’s baseball team.
When asked if Wells ever thought he would be a High School coach he responded:
“Not at all,” Wells said. “I would have never in a million years thought I’d be doing this. I’ve been trying for the last seven years to get into the big leagues and failed miserably. I mean, I thought with all the knowledge and the big games that I’ve pitched and being in the playoffs constantly, I know pitching. I know pitching as good as or better than anybody else that’s ever played.”
Then-athletic director John Murphy‘s said this about Wells:
“He’s so dedicated to the kids. He’s a classy guy. He has a huge heart,” Murphy said. “He’s doing all sorts of great stuff with the kids. His knowledge of baseball is incredible. The kids are like sponges. They’re eating it up. It’s been a really great experience for our program, and the kids will look back on that and know it was a fantastic time.”
Wells also helped a 1 million dollar renovation plan, that was mostly by a school bond, that resulted in upgraded bullpens, batting cages, a new outfield fence, and new field turf.
Wells donates his salary of $3,000 back to the program.
He has also raised around $135,000 from an offseason golf tournament.
Wells said that he loves watching the young kids develop and being around them.
“To me that’s just as good as if not better than being in the big leagues, except they get paid up there and I don’t get paid here,” said Wells, with a laugh.
In his honor, Point Loma renamed their home baseball field in 2010; it is now known as the David Wells Field.
In 2018, Wells resigned as the head coach at Point Loma High.
He finished with a record of 67-54 and won the Eastern League Title in 2016 and 2017.
Wells told PLHS athletic director Alex Van Heuven he needs more time to devote to the other projects.
David Wells is married.
He and his wife Nina live in San Diego; they have two sons.
Wells and his wife started a nonprofit organization called Perfect 33 Foundation.
David Wells did not look, act, or sound the part of a legendary pitcher with an extraordinarily long career in MLB.
But, that did not stop him from becoming one of the Yankee greats and having a solid career in the major leagues.NEXT: What Happened To Tino Martinez? (Complete Story)