By the Numbers: David Wells' Perfect Game
That afternoon in the Bronx, Wells’ perfecto joined him with Don Larsen as the only Yankees hurlers to accomplish the feat (David Cone would join the club 14 months later), and etched his name in a record book that also featured signatures such as Cy Young, Sandy Koufax, and Catfish Hunter.
With Friday marking the 15th anniversary of Wells’ perfecto, we salute “Boomer” by “going nine” and taking a look at some fun facts from his moment of glory in the latest edition of By the Numbers.
2:40: The Yankees defeated the Twins 4-0 on May 17, 1998, and with Wells not allowing a single baserunner, it took just two hours, 40 minutes from first pitch to final celebration.
49,820: A capacity crowd of 49,820 watched from Yankee Stadium that day, roaring throughout the game and going off the charts when Wells got Pat Meares to fly out to right field to finish the job.
2 & 4: Wells’ Perfect Game ended two different baseball droughts, one of two years and another of four; it Yankees’ first no-hitter of any kind since Doc Gooden no-hit Seattle in May 1996, and it was the first perfecto in MLB since then Rangers-pitcher Kenny Rogers went 27 up, 27 down against the Angels in July 1994.
120: Wells threw 120 pitches on the day, but that wasn’t his season high, nor even second in that category; his season-high came in his previous start, as he threw 136 in eight innings against Kansas City on May 12, and he would later throw 121 in a complete game win over Texas on August 21.
3-3: The hitting star for the Yankees in the perfect game was none other than Bernie Williams, who went 3-for-3 that day to raise his average to .314 on the season. He would raise that mark up to .339 by the end of the season, and that would be good enough to win the American League batting title.
5 & 8: Wells’ victory in the perfect game was his fifth in a row that season, a streak he would push to eight before losing to Baltimore on June 15. After losing his first decision, Wells won eight in a row from April 7-June 2, lost to the O’s, and then reeled off nine straight wins from June 20-September 1 before losing his second game; that loss made him 17-2, and he would finish the season 18-4.
8 & 5: In a fun inverse of the previous number, the perfecto was the first of a then-career-high eight complete games that season for Wells, and it was also the first of what would be his American League-leading five shutouts.
3,000: As of the 15th anniversary, Wells’ perfect game featured two men who were or would eventually become part of the 3,000 hit club; Derek Jeter was the Yankees starting shortstop, of course, and Paul Molitor, who had reached the milestone in 1996, was Minnesota’s DH that day.
4: Of the 12 Twins who made an official appearance in the game, four would go on to play for the Yankees later in their careers: reliever Dan Naulty made 33 appearances out of the Yankees bullpen in 1999, first baseman Ron Coomer played in 55 games in 2002, center fielder Matt Lawton appeared in 21 games in 2005, and LaTroy Hawkins pitched 41 innings out of the ‘pen in 2008.