The Yankees head into the offseason in need of at least one starting pitcher, but they should probably go out and get two. There is no such thing as too many starters, and great teams know that. The 1998 Yankees certainly understood that, boasting a rotation full of top-notch arms. Two of them in particular, David Wells and David Cone, secured baseball immortality while pitching in pinstripes, and their stories deserve remembering.
Wells joined the Yankees prior to the 1997 season. He pitched well, but the 1998 season proved to be his standout campaign. The left-hander went 18 – 4, with a 3.49 ERA (3.80 FIP) over 214.1 innings. Plus, he tossed a perfect game on May 17th against the Minnesota Twins. To make things even more interesting, Wells alleged that he completed the feat while hungover. That’s Boomer Wells for you!
Cone, meanwhile, compiled a 20 – 7 record, with a 3.55 ERA (3.45 FIP) across 207.2 innings. The right-hander stood by and kept close watch as Wells achieved baseball immortality. In a little over a year, Cone would carve his own place out. He threw a perfect game against the Montreal Expos on July 18, 1999. It took him only 88 pitches.
To celebrate the historic runs that Wells and Cone had, SB Nation produced this video highlighting them. It’s a terrific reminder that great starting pitching can carry a team, and just sometimes, it can reach perfection.
What are your favorite memories of when Cone and Wells pitched? Did you ever see them pitch in person? Let us know in the comment section below!