Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Editor's Note: Filling in today is my friend Sean McNally, a new guest blogger this year. Sean is a journalist by trade, and in his spare time writes the usually excellent "Week in Review" article at Count the Rings. Today he comes in with a story near-and-dear to the hearts of many Yankee fans.

May 17th, 1998

Twins at Yankees

For only the 13th time in modern major league history, a perfect game is tossed as David Wells beats the Twins 4-0 in front of nearly 50,000 fans on Beanie Baby Day at Yankee Stadium.

If there is a less-perfect person to throw a perfect game than David Wells, I’d like to meet him.

Wells entered the year, his final during his first stint with the Yankees, as the poster child for hard partying, perhaps in homage to his idol, Mr. George Herman Ruth.

However, on May 17, 1998 more than 50,000 people jammed the House that Ruth Built, not so much to see the beloved Wells – but for this little guy:

Yup, Valentino the Beanie Baby!

Anyway, the Twins were in town and the teams couldn’t have been headed in more opposite directions. At 27-9, the Yankees were on their way to 114 wins and a march to the World Series. The Twins were 18-23 and on their way to a 70-92 record.

Minnesota wasn’t much of an offensive club, they’d go on to score just 734 runs, just 4.53 runs a game good for 12th in the league and a .266 team batting average that was good for just 11th in the league. In other words, they were patsies. And to make matters better for Boomer – two of their best offensive players: Otis Nixon and Todd Walker didn’t play. Noted Yankee-killer David Ortiz also didn’t get into the lineup, no this was Minnesota’s starting nine:

CF – Matt Lawton
2B – Brent Gates
DH – Paul Molitor
LF – Marty Cordova
1B – Ron Coomer
RF – Alex Ochoa
3B – Jon Shave
CA – Javier Valentin
SS – Pat Meares


The Yankees however countered with:

2B – Chuck Knoblauch
SS – Derek Jeter
RF – Paul O’Neill
1B – Tino Martinez
CF – Bernie Williams
DH – Darryl Strawberry
LF –
Chad Curtis
CA – Jorge Posada
3B – Scott Brosius

A tad bit better lineup, no?

Anyway, it took Wells just two hours and forty minutes to dismantle the Twins – his final line, no walks, no hits, no errors, 11 strikeouts, induced nine flyouts (including Pat Meares’ lazy fly ball to O’Neill in right to end it) and seven groundouts, making him the second man to throw a perfect game in Yankee Stadium history, and the first to do it in the regular season – but that’s a story for another day.

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