On May 17, 1998, New York Yankees pitcher David Wells faced off with 27 Minnesota Twins hitters. He retired them all and notched the 15th perfect game in MLB history. He also did so while dealing with very little sleep and a hangover. Jimmy Fallon provided some details about this game, as well as the night that preceded it.
Speaking with Adam Sandler during an at-home episode of The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Fallon provided some background information about this evening with Wells the night prior to his perfect game. Apparently, he had headed to the SNL afterparty with former cast member Horatio Sanz and SNL creator Lorne Michaels. Wells was also present for the evening and stayed up very late with all of the cast members, ultimately heading home much later than his coach and manager would prefer.
"We're hanging out, we're having drinks, we're going late," Fallon said. "It's getting late. Probably 5, 5:30. Lorne leaves, I'm still there. I think I leave around 5:45, 6 in the morning. I leave the party. I go home, I crash, and I wake up the next day. It's gotta be 1, 1:30 the next day. I turn on the TV, and David Wells is pitching."
As Fallon explained, he first thought that this was just Channel 11 replaying a classic Yankees game. There was no way in his mind that Wells was actually on the mound and retiring every single batter that he faced. The Yankees pitcher had outlasted him, Michaels, and Sanz, but had still managed to head to the stadium and take part in this matchup.
Fallon was not the only SNL cast member with a story about Wells. Sandler also revealed that the Yankees pitcher spent considerable time with his cast in the early 1990s. Although the actor would not provide any details of his time spent with Wells.
Wells later wrote about this perfect game in his autobiography, "Perfect, I'm Not." He described this performance by writing that he was "half-drunk, with bloodshot eyes, monster breath, and a raging, skull-rattling hangover." Despite dealing with this issue, he still managed to throw a perfect game and help the Yankees secure the 4-0 victory.
Following the game, Wells was carried off the field by his teammates while holding his hat aloft in celebration. The pitcher finished the season with a record of 18-4 with a 3.49 ERA and the league's best strikeout-to-walk ratio (5.6). He earned All-Star honors and finished the season in third place in the Cy Young voting.
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