33 days till Padres’ Opening Day- Boomer Wells

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Credit USA Today Sports

With just 33 days till Opening Day, we look at one of the most interesting pitchers in the history of the game, David “Boomer” Wells.

David Wells

Pitching for nine teams in his 21-year MLB career, David Lee Wells had a 239-157 record with a 4.13 ERA pitching in 660 games (489 starts). “Boomer” was also selected to three all-star games (1995, 1998, 2000) and finished top 3 for the Cy Young twice (1998, 2000). 

Wells was a part of two different World Series-winning teams, the first as a member of the 1992 Toronto Blue Jays, where Wells served as a swingman. 

In 1998, the height of the steroid era was arguably the best season in his lengthy career. 

Wells went 18-4 for the Yankees with a 3.49 ERA. He led the American League in winning percentage (.818), shutouts (5), walks per nine (1.2), strikeouts-to-walk ratio (5.62), and WHIP (1.05). 

He had even more success in the playoffs that season, winning the ALCS Most Valuable Player award on the way to winning his second World Series ring, this time over the San Diego Padres. 

The San Diego Padres signed Wells to a one-year deal as a free agent on January 1, 2004. It was the first of 3 seasons (2004, 2006-2007). 

“Boomer” went 18-18 with a 4.33 ERA in 58 starts with the Padres. 

Fun Facts

  • Wells grew up in Ocean Beach, California, and attended Point Loma High School. 
  • His parents were never married. He was thus raised by his mother, Eugenia, a member of Hell’s Angels, also known as “Attitude Annie.’
  • Wells grew up with the belief that his father, David Pritt, was dead. However, at the age of 22, he learned that Pritt was alive and tracked him down to start a new relationship with him.
  • On Sunday, May 17, 1998, Wells pitched the 15th perfect game in MLB history and the second in Yankees team history. The first Yankee to do so was Don Larson, who also went to Point Loma High School. 
  • Wells claimed in a 2001 interview with Bryant Gumbel on HBO’s Real Sports that he threw the perfect game while experiencing a “raging, skull-rattling” hangover. Jimmy Fallon claimed in a 2018 interview with Seth Meyers that he and Wells had attended a Saturday Night Live after-party until 5:30 A.M. the morning of the game.  
  • Has a tattoo of his favorite baseball player, Babe Ruth
  • Wells appeared in the postseason as a member of six different teams, tied for the most in MLB history with Kenny Lofton.

Other 33’s 

Wells is one of 25 players in franchise history to wear the number #33. Others include Gary Ross (1969-1974), Mike Piazza (2006), Clayton Richard (2010-2013), and James Shields (2015-2016).

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Ross is fairly unknown to the common fan, but he was integral to the start of the San Diego Padres. He pitched in 219 games as a member of the Friars. 

Piazza is most known for his time behind the dish for the Los Angeles Dodgers and the New York Mets, but he did play one season for the Padres. The Hall of Fame catcher helped the team win the National League West after slugging 22 home runs and driving in 68 runs with a .283 batting average. 

When Richard returned to the Padres for his second stint (2016-2018) with the team, he changed things up wearing #27 and #3.

When Shields signed with the Padres in 2015, it was the largest contract in franchise history at the time at $75 million over four years. 

Shields only pitched 1.5 seasons with the team before being dealt to the Chicago White Sox for pitcher Erik Johnson and a prospect by the name of Fernando Tatis Jr., who now holds the title for largest contract in team history. 

The number 33 is currently being worn by Reiss Knehr, who is one of two players on the active 40-man roster from Fordham University (Nick Martinez).

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