The 1998 Yankees were a special team and arguably the greatest to ever play baseball. The regular season was filled with tremendous highlights from the explosive 17-13 victory in Yankee Stadium's 75th anniversary home opener to Bernie Williams winning the batting title and Shane Spencer going bananas in September with a rookie record three grand slams. They won 114 games, but none was more memorable than a lazy afternoon game on May 17th against the Twins, when lefty ace David Wells twirled a perfect game, just the 15th in baseball history. Due to the wonders of modern technology and some much appreciated leniency from MLB Advanced Media, the whole game is available on YouTube in all its glory:
That's amazing. Like Matthew Floratos did during the off-season with David Cone's perfect game, I thought it would be fun to go back to Wells's perfecto and make GIFs out of some of the moments. Time to journey down memory lane to the mystical land of 1998...
This is actually a recycled GIF from my post of famous Yankees pitcher GIFs of years past, hence the inclusion of a clip from the '98 playoffs in there, but dammit it still applies. Mother of God, did Boomer have a dynamic curveball. Only twice in his career did he ever strike out more than the 11 Twins he fanned this afternoon. All reportedly while hung over from a Saturday Night Live after party too! Atta boy.
Yes, believe it or not, LaTroy Hawkins started in this game for the Twins. It was actually his second full season in the pros and fourth overall. He debuted in April of 1995... before Derek Jeter. Throughout his outing, the MSG broadcast booth made frequent reference to the "young Hawkins," who was told by his veteran teammates that he didn't have to throw 97 mph with his "live arm" to get batters out. Given that Hawkins is STILL PITCHING IN MAJOR LEAGUE BASEBALL, this is just wildly amusing. The deuces at the end makes it even better. Some pitchers, man. They hang around forever.
Unimpressed by Matt Lawton
The Twins' leadoff batter that day was Matt Lawton, a two-time All-Star who had an 11-year, 105 OPS+ career. He even spent a little time with the Yankees in 2005. "Shades guy" does not appear to give a single F about Mr. Lawton, though. Harsh. Such scrutiny. That or he's dead and his friends are pulling the "Weekend at Bernie's."
Second base umpire Mike Reilly decided that Chuck Knoblauch needed hitting advice or something. That is... odd.
Fielding, yer doin' it wrong
Maybe Reilly could give fielding advice to Marty Cordova instead. Twins skipper Tom Kelly, the Ron Gardenhire forever Twins manager of his generation, was not pleased and explained Cordova's "route."
Ah, the days when Chuck Knoblauch had not quite completely forgotten how to play second base. It was a simpler time. Then he hit Keith Olbermann's mom in the face with a baseball.
Both David Cone and Joe Torre refused to leave their spots so not to jinx Wells or something, and they stayed lurking in the shade with their sunglasses. Hopefully someone said a prayer for their bladders.
This kid who was probably there just to get his Beanie Baby giveaway that day was super-psyched about Wells as he was one out from perfection. Just think... now he's probably in college or graduated. You're welcome.