David Wells was in Detroit last Saturday, preparing for a broadcast the next day, when he watched the final inning of Philip Humber’s perfect game on television. As Humber wobbled against the leadoff man in the ninth inning, Wells rooted him on.
“I said a prayer for him when he went to 3-0,” Wells said. “I started yelling at the gods, ‘C’mon, let this guy in!’ ”
Humber, a Chicago White Sox right-hander, survived and joined Wells and 19 others in the exclusive club of perfect-game pitchers. Two of them, Wells and Don Larsen, graduated from Point Loma High School in San Diego, where the field now bears Wells’s name.
Wells said he wanted it to “look like a major league field,” and hopes to finance the renovations partly with a portion of the proceeds from a memorabilia auction. ...
Among the Wells items up for auction are a Christy Mathewson autographed ball; Thurman Munson’s game-worn shin guards; an autographed, game-used Phil Rizzuto glove from 1941; a ball autographed by several stars of the Negro leagues, including Josh Gibson and Satchel Paige; and a felt bowler hat worn by Lou Gehrig in 1928.
But the prize is the Ruth cap, which carries a minimum bid of $50,000 and is inscribed on the inside leather band with “G. Ruth” and his size, 7 3/8. When Wells wore it in a game, he gave the heirloom an intriguing modern twist, even if his manager made him remove it after one inning.
“Joe Torre fined me,” Wells said. “He said it wasn’t the required uniform. I said, ‘It’s got an ‘NY’ on it.’ He said, ‘Well, it’s not the ‘NY’ we have.’ I said: ‘You’ve really got to be kidding me. But if you’ve got to fine me, go for it.’ ”
Torre fined Wells $2,500, a pittance compared with the value of the cap, which Wells is about to find out.