Baseball’s bellicose lefty produces a text packed with a pitcher’s pleasures and pains.
Wells is a kick-ass 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.
A rags-to-pinstripes tale of America’s game with placement, velocity, and hubris, likely to go post-season. (Illustrations)