David Wells’ amazing story behind hungover perfect game

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On the morning of May 17, 1998, David Wells didn’t feel perfect. 

In fact, he hardly felt normal.

The night before, Wells, as he often did, attended “Saturday Night Live.” Though he originally had no intention of going to the after-party — his start loomed the next day in a matinee against the Twins and his son was in town visiting — those plans soon changed. 

“So I ended up going and one thing led to another and at about 5:30 in the morning I came strolling in, just schnockered, so I only got a couple hours of sleep,” Wells said on The Post’s “Pinstripe Pod” on Monday. “… Still drunk. I think I would’ve blown over the limit. Surprised I didn’t get pulled over on the way into the park. It wasn’t on purpose, I just got caught up in the moment at ‘Saturday Night Live’ with Jimmy Fallon and the guys there. And it just escalated.

“I went to the park, I was a wreck. I mean, I was a wreck. (David Cone) told me, he goes, you need to go to Monahan’s office to get away from everybody, you stink. So I just started chewing gum, drinking a lot of water and coffee, about ten trips to the bathroom. My stomach was boiling over pretty good. I don’t know, at about 11:30 I had a pancake in there from the spread and I felt a little bit better but I was still a wreck.”

During his pregame bullpen session, Wells “couldn’t throw a strike,” even joking that he sailed a pair of pitches out of the stadium and onto the train tracks. 

“Mel Stottlemyre’s going, ‘Boomer, you’re doing alright, you’re doing good’,” Wells said. “I turn around and go, ‘Don’t patronize me, dude. I’m having the s–ttiest freaking bullpen of my life.’”

David Wells reacts after completing his perfect game.
David Wells reacts after completing his perfect game.
Getty Images

Having seen enough, Wells truncated his bullpen session.

“I knew if I had a short outing, I would’ve gotten in a lot of trouble,” Wells said. “A lot of people knew I was pretty hammered.”

Wells started the game “hungover like no other.” But around the fourth inning, the hangover at last dissipated.

Having not allowed a baserunner through the first four innings, superstition began to kick in.

The Yankees lift David Wells on their shoulders after his perfect game.
The Yankees lift David Wells on their shoulders after his perfect game.
Getty Images

“I walked into the clubhouse to get water and I heard Michael Kay saying, ‘Boomer Wells has a perfect game,’ and I ran out of that room so quick and went back down into the dugout,” Wells said. “Then, I don’t know, it was about the sixth, seventh inning. I think I went over to (Tino Martinez) and he got up and walked away. They wouldn’t sit by me. Nobody would talk to me. It was unbelievable, I was the lone man on the totem pole there.” 

Wells rode his second wind all the way to perfection. When Paul O’Neill caught the game’s final out to secure the 15th perfect game in MLB history, the celebration commenced. 

After the game, Wells finished the day in the same fashion he had started it in the wee hours of the morning. 

“We went after until 4 o’clock the next night,” Wells remembered with a laugh. “We went to Dorian’s and we were just tearing it up.”

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