How many kids dream of becoming a baseball player or a professional athlete for that matter, and how many are literally good enough to play college? Statistics show that the 0.5% do go on to play professionally, how a couple of reality check? We had the opportunity to speak with David “Boomer” Wells, the previous NY Yankees legend who went on to live his dream as a Major League Baseball pitcher and have a career that any professional athlete can only dream of.
You wonder how someone decides which sport to play, what position and which one they actually want to defend. When I asked Wells about this, he said, “As a young kid, I knew I loved baseball and playing all positions. I was very good at throwing and started throwing at the age of 7.” Needless to say, young athletes undergo intense training while at school, they’ve to work hard to maintain good grades, do homework, and have a tendency to study while trying to spend time with family and friends. Growing up in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach, a crime-ridden area where Wells attended the local public school, Wells was dependent on his mother working multiple jobs to support him and his four siblings. “I was determined to be successful and I played baseball and basketball and was a gym rat who spent most of my time at Ocean Beach Recreation Center and Robb Field.” Wells was Point Loma High School’s star pitcher and put up an impeccable game his senior year.
David went on to play for several teams and a few of them even twice. He played for the Toronto Blue Jays (1987-1992) Detroit Tigers (1993-1995), Cincinnati Reds (1995), Baltimore Orioles (1996), New York Yankees (1997-1998), Toronto Blue Jays (1999-2000), Chicago White Sox (2001), New York Yankees (2002-2003), San Diego Padres (2004), Boston Red Sox (2005-2006), San Diego Padres (2006-2007) and Los Angeles Dodgers (2007). David is a 3x All Star (1995, 1998, 2000) 2x World Series Champion (1992, 1998) ALCS MVP (1998) AL Wins Leader (2000) and put up the Perfect Game on May 17, 1998. Now that’s one hell of a formidable resume ! When I asked Wells what it was like to be called up to the Yankees, he replied excitedly. “This is a dream come true. I’ve all the time been an enormous fan of my hometown team, the Padres, but I’m also an enormous Yankee fan. I grew up an enormous Babe Ruth fan and am so moved to play ‘The House Ruth Built’ with other Yankee greats!” David had an incredible year with the Yankees winning the World Series in 1998 against the San Diego Padres and hit the perfect game on May 17, 1998, against the Minnesota Twins. 15th perfect game in baseball history.
Nina and David Wells
By the way, we’re coming on the 20thth Wells Perfect Game Year Anniversary and that I remember watching the game with my late father who was an enormous Yankees fan. No matter the day or time of the game, every TV in my house has the game blaring so for me, the game will all the time be ingrained in my head and remain a special memory that I will cherish endlessly. I can still see my father screaming and jumping up and down screaming, ‘It’s a Boy!’ Wells chuckled and said, “All the stars aligned for me that day. After being out until 5:30 a.m. with the Saturday Night Live family, who would have thought that would ever occur. Talk a couple of one in a million chance.” And for me, I am unable to help but think that in this case, who’s to say staying up late is bad for you.
David and his wife Nina started the Perfect 33 Foundation and dedicate much of their time and resources to helping others. “After meeting with a former Navy Seal and learning that there were certain medical treatments his insurance didn’t cover, we realized funds needed to be raised to help our veterans get their care. There are also family needs that are not always met. We want to help! We also want to help children by providing them with sports outlets. Being a retired athlete where sports kept me out of trouble as a child, I know firsthand the importance of youth athletics. I also know that many of our communities are underfunded in this area. We want to give children the opportunity to have the opportunity to fulfill their dream of becoming a professional athlete.”
On Thursday, May 17th, Wells will be hosting a star-studded celebration/fundraiser for the 20thth Perfect Game Anniversary at Sony Hall in New York City. “Both Nina and that I are so excited for tonight and the Perfect 33 Foundation is partnering with the Puerto Rico Relief Foundation founded by Jorge Posada as his wife Laura. A portion of the evening’s proceeds will go to both of their charities. We expect a lot from my former teammates and friends to attend such as; Bernie Williams, Jorge Posada, Willie Randolph, Ramiro Mendoza, Mariano Rivera, David Cone, Joe Torre and Lorne Michaels. New York Yankees play-by-play YES Announcer & 98.7 ESPN Afternoon Drive Host, Michael Kay will be emceeing the evening. There will be great stories, lots of laughs, recaps of some of the Perfect Game highlights, celebrity surprises and musical performances by Bernie Williams and his band.” Wow! What an incredible way to celebrate 20th Perfect Game Anniversary. It speaks volumes about you when your friends fly in from all over so they can celebrate with you and Nina. “When you play together as a team and share the blood, sweat, and tears it takes to win the World Series, that bond lasts endlessly. I’m so grateful for each teammate I played with that made my dream come true.
You have truly been blessed and continue to work hard and share your blessings with others. “Life has been great for me and I have been blessed with a wonderful family and especially my wife Nina and our two boys who share my interests. Nina likes me coaching my high school alumni baseball team and running their baseball program, he loves playing golf with me and most importantly, helps with the day to day running of our Perfect 33 Foundation.” I love to hear how grateful you are for your blessings and it is really incredible that you’re able to stay in the game by training and doing what you love not to mention the indisputable fact that your wife not only knows how to play golf, but loves it! By the way, you and Nina are having a golf event in the fall. “Yes, we will host our 4th Annual Golf Classic in San Diego Oct. 28th and 29th. You can visit www.Perfect33Foundation.org for more details.”
Next week when you come to New York for your Perfect 33rd Celebration, how will you spend your time? “We will be busy with PR to ensure everybody knows about our May 17thth incident. If we have time, we plan to go to one of my favourite old places, Dorrians on the upper east side. What an incredible choice certainly!
After looking back at your career and all of your accomplishments, I asked Wells what he would say to his 8 year old self and without hesitation he replied, “Follow your dreams, master your craft and don’t be afraid to fail. The same thing my mom used to say to me… “speak up, don’t take any bullshit and hang in there!” Wow! Your mother must be right and so should you. The baby boy!
For those of you wishing to attend the 20th Perfect Game Celebration Anniversary with David Wells and friends and support both causes please visit: