As an appetizer to Friday night’s nearly full slate of 14 games, Major League Baseball has published the entire MSG broadcast of David Wells' perfect game against the Minnesota Twins from May 17, 1998 on their Youtube channel.
That’s right, it was exactly 15 years ago today that Wells joined the history books as the thirteenth pitcher to throw a perfect game in MLB history. We’ve actually added another eight perfect games to this list since then (most recently Philip Humber and Felix Hernandez during the 2012 season), so obviously we’re seeing them at a much more frequent clip over that timeframe, but it certainly doesn’t diminish Wells’ accomplishment on that afternoon one bit.
Of course Wells also claimed in his book that he was partially in the bag (aka “half-drunk“) that afternoon after spending the previous night out drinking with the cast of Saturday Night Live. If true, I suppose that adds another layer to his performance. Then again, taking one look at the lineup Minnesota fielded that day makes you wonder if he could have been completely hammered and still done just as well.
Here it is with their batting averages leading in to that game included:
• Matt Lawton (.244)
• Brent Gates (.129)
• Paul Molitor (.255)
• Marty Cordova (.256)
• Ron Coomer (.269)
• Alex Ochoa (.253)
• Jon Shave (.182)
• Javier Valentin (.234)
• Pat Meares (.296)
Aside from future Hall of Famer Paul Molitor, there wasn’t a whole lot of resistance in that lineup. And even Molitor was at the very end of his career at that time.
But even still, Wells did everything he needed to do that day to be perfect. His defense, anchored by Derek Jeter (the only still-active player from the Yankees that day) did their jobs as well.
By the way, according to Hardball Talk’s Aaron Gleeman, the only other still-active player in that game just happened to be Minnesota’s starting pitcher. He’s a reliever now, and has been for over a decade, but he was well thought of starting pitching prospect for a time.
His name: LaTroy Hawkins.