A Boomer Not to Be Reckoned With
How many kids dream of being a baseball player or a professional athlete for that matter, and how many actually are even good enough to play in college? Statistics show that 0.5% actually go on to play professionally, how’s that for a reality check? We had the chance to speak with David “Boomer” Wells, a former NY Yankees legend who went on to fulfill his dream as a Major League Baseball pitcher and having a career that even other professional athletes can only dream about.
You wonder how one decides which sport to play, what position and which ones they really want to stick with. When I asked Wells about this, he stated, “As a young kid, I knew I loved baseball and played all positions. I was really good at pitching and started to pitch at the age of 7.” Needless to say, young athletes go through vigorous workouts while attending school, they have to work hard to maintain good grades, do their homework and tend to their studies while trying to spend time with their family and friends. Growing up in the San Diego neighborhood of Ocean Beach, a crime ridden area where Wells attended local public schools, Wells was dependent on his mother who worked numerous jobs to support him and his four siblings. “I was determined to be a success and I played baseball and basketball and was a gym rat who spent most of my time at the Ocean Beach Recreation Center and Robb Field.” Wells was Point Loma High School’s star pitcher and threw a perfect game his senior year.
David went on to play for several teams and some 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 was a 3x All Star (1995, 1998, 2000) 2x World Series Champion (1992, 1998) ALCS MVP (1998) AL Wins Leader (2000) and pitched a Perfect Game on May 17, 1998. Now that is one heck of an impressive resume! When I asked Wells what it was like to get called up to the Yankees, he responded with such excitement. “It was a dream come true. I was always a huge fan of my hometown team the Padres, but I was also a big Yankee fan. I grew up a huge Babe Ruth fan and I was beyond moved that I would play in ‘The House That Ruth Built’ with other Yankee greats!” David had a great year with the Yankees winning a World Series in 1998 against the San Diego Padres and throwing a perfect game on May 17, 1998, against the Minnesota Twins making it the 15th perfect game in baseball history.
Speaking of which, we’re coming up on the 20th Year Anniversary of Wells’ Perfect Game and I remember watching the game with my late father who was a die-hard Yankees fan. No matter the day or time of the game, every TV in my household had the game blaring so for me, the game will always be embedded in my head and remain a special memory that I will treasure forever. I can still see my father screaming and jumping up and down yelling, ‘That a Boy Baby!’ Wells chuckles and says, “All the stars were 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 have ever happened. Talk about a one in a million chance.” And to me, I can’t help to think that in this case, who says staying out late is bad for you.
David and his wife Nina started the Perfect 33 Foundation and dedicate a lot of their time and resources to helping others. “After meeting a former Navy Seal and learning that there were certain medical treatments that were not covered by his insurance, we realized funds needed to be raised to help our veterans get their treatments. There are also needs by their families that are not always met. We wanted to help! We also wanted to help children by giving them a sports outlet. Being a retired athlete where sports kept me out of trouble as a kid, I know firsthand the importance of youth athletics. I also know that many of our communities are under-funded in this area. We want to give kids the opportunity to have the chance of living a dream of becoming a professional athlete.”
On Thursday, May 17, the Wells will be hosting a star-studded celebration/fundraiser for the 20th Anniversary of the Perfect Game at Sony Hall in New York City. “Both Nina and I are beyond excited for this night 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 nights proceeds will be go to both of their charities. We expect many of 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 to name a few. New York Yankees play-by-play YES announcer & 98.7 ESPN Afternoon Drive Host, Michael Kay will be the emcee for the night. There will be good stories, lots of laughs, a recap of some of the Perfect Game highlights, celebrity surprises and a musical performance by Bernie Williams and his band.” Wow! What a great way to celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Perfect Game. It speaks volumes about you when your friends are flying in from all over so that they can celebrate with you and Nina. “When you play together as a team and share the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to win a World Series, that bond will last forever. I’m so grateful for each and every one of my teammates that I played with that made my dreams come true.”
You have truly been blessed and continue to work hard and share your blessings with others. “Life has been very good to me and I have been blessed with an amazing family and especially my wife Nina and our two boys who share the same passions that I do. Nina loves that I coach my high school alum baseball team and run their baseball program, she loves to golf with me and most of all, helps to run the day to day of our Perfect 33 Foundation.” I love hearing how grateful you are for your blessings and it’s fantastic that you can stay in the game by coaching and doing what you love not to mention the fact, that your wife not only knows how to play golf, but loves it! Speaking of which, you and Nina will be hosting a golf event in the fall. “Yes, we will be hosting our 4th Annual Golf Classic in San Diego October 28th and 29th. You can visit www.Perfect33Foundation.org for more details.”
Next week when you come into New York for your Perfect 33 Celebration, how will you spend your time? “We will be busy with some PR making sure that everyone knows about our May 17th event. If we have time, we plan on going to one of my favorite old stomping grounds, Dorrians on the upper east side.” A good choice indeed!
After looking back at your career and all of your accomplishments I asked Wells what he would tell his 8-year old self and without skipping a beat he replied, “Live your dream, master your craft and don’t be afraid to fail. The same thing my mom told me… “speak your mind, don’t take any crap and persevere!” Wow! Your mom certainly got that right and so did you. That a Boy Baby!
For those of you who would like to attend the 20th Anniversary of the Perfect Game Celebration with David Wells and his buddies and support the two causes, please visit:
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