Reading through Perfect I'm Not, you might think Wells overcame enormous obstacles placed in his way by anal-retentive managers, pitching coaches and general managers who routinely doubted him and had the gall to wonder about his elastic girth. That is amusing, like much of the book. Perspective has never been one of Wells's strengths. His take on his baseball career is like Richard Nixon's version of Watergate. — Buster Olney
Wells's rollicking memoir of his unlikely journey to the top of the hill at Yankee Stadium reads like Bull Durham rewritten by Ozzy Osbourne and Howard Stern. After a juicy setup that recounts his in-drag appearance on Saturday Night Live with teammates Derek Jeter and David Cone, Wells and Kreski settle into a three-up, three-down pace, chronicling Boomer's rise from Hells Angels mascot through the minors in barren Medicine Hat, Canada, down to winter ball in Venezuela, where he gets dysentery and is almost killed and on up to his crowning achievement: the perfect game he threw for the Yanks while hungover in 1998. The pitcher's life often resembles one of Kreski's credits, Beavis and Butt-head, resulting in a look-back-in-laughter that earns on average more than a chuckle per page. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever seen Wells interviewed; what's unexpected are his painstaking accounts of such turns in his life as the career-threatening back surgery he faced in 2001, to say nothing of the scrape he got into in a Manhattan diner last year with a drunken heckler. Fans will applaud because Wells's inside baseball divulges numbers as well as names, and it sketches as uncensored a portrait of today's money-and-media-saturated pro sports as they come. (Apr.) Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information.
Few might be interested in Wells's Harley-riding, heavy-metal lifestyle if he didn't also bear down so hard when it's time to pitch: besides the World Series and other big-time games he's pitched over the years, Boomer threw a perfect game in the spring of 1998, the 14th man ever to achieve that feat. This book mixes Wells's outsized personality with his considerable mound accomplishments.
Baseball’s bellicose lefty produces a text packed with a pitcher’s pleasures and pains. Wells is a kick-a** kind of guy, and so was his biker-babe Mom, Attitude Annie. Raised without Dad, his father figures were Mom’s pals, the local Hell’s Angels. The welfare kid got older and bigger; growing up was another story. If a game doesn’t go according to plan, Boomer may still wreck the dugout furnishings to the tunes of Metallica. Altercations with civilians are not unknown. Yet the guy could always throw smoke. Starting from the Medicine Hat farm club (with an interlude living in the back of a van and bussing tables), he was traded from Toronto to Milwaukee, Detroit, Cincinnati, and Baltimore. But in the bigs, the place he yearned for was Yankee Stadium. Now the home of his hero, Babe Ruth, is home to David Wells, who recalls here the day he wore Ruth’s cap to the mound. In greater detail, he describes his duels with sluggers and swingers, pinch hitters and pull hitters. Major outings are deconstructed inning by inning, pitch by pitch. Casual spectators and rabid fans will learn much about working the hitters and how it is to pitch a perfect game while hung over. Don’t forget the gout, the chips in the elbow, and the chips on the shoulder. Then there’s the money. (This once-poor hurler cries "throw me a bone," by which he means incentives in the millions.) People like David Cone, Spanky Anderson, Joe Torre, Cal Ripkin Jr., the ineffable Marge Schott, and Boss Steinbrenner make appearances, but personal matters, like family life, get just a nod; this is about baseball. And it’s pure locker-room trash talk, jock-jokey and fun. If last year didn’t earn a championship ring, just wait. Arags-to-pinstripes tale of America’s game with placement, velocity, and hubris, likely to go post-season.