David Wells helping coronavirus charities in his very unique way
Can I interest you in a David Wells protective cup from 1993?
Too late. You missed your shot. Four devoted fans, for better or worse, didn’t.
Actually, it’s for the better. The two-time Yankee, author of a perfect game as well as a controversial autobiography, pulled in $5,250 by selling these four pieces of, um, equipment — autographed! — from long ago.
On one cup, to a personal friend who ponied up, Wells wrote, “May this new COVID-19 mask keep you safe.”
Yup, he’s still the Boomer. Still raunchy, still confrontational…and still in love in New York. Which is why Wells is using this pandemic downtime to clean out his San Diego-area home, auction off stuff from his playing days on Twitter and donate those proceeds to pet causes, one of which is the fight against coronavirus in the Big Apple.
“New York felt like a second home to me because of the way I was received and how the people responded to me,” said Wells, who pitched for the Yankees in 1997, 1998, 2002 and 2003. “In the city, I would go out all the time, and I would hang with everybody. I wasn’t a hermit, I was gonna go to your restaurant and have a beer with you.
“Every time I go to New York, I feel like I’m home. That’s why I want to help New Yorkers.”
In an interview on Saturday, Wells estimated that he has signed some 2,000 items in the past two weeks, and there are some more traditional collector’s items, like autographed balls from his May 17, 1998 perfect game for the Yankees against the Twins, in addition to the colorful stuff. His Perfect 33 Foundation is handling the logistics of these deliveries as well as the distribution of the funds. In addition to New Yorkers on the front lines, the foundation helps first responders closer to home and the Navy SEALs.
Wells wrote a $10,000 check to the Manhattan caterers Sage & Zest, who have started an initiative to help first responders. And he’s going to send “a few thousand” dollars, he said, to former Yankees official Mike “Red” Walsh, who has recruited a starting lineup full of Yankees to contribute to the Upper East Side restaurant Luke’s, which is regularly delivering complimentary, “thank-you” meals to police officers, firefighters, hospital personnel and first responders in the area.
Joining Wells in supporting Luke’s — their donations both keep the restaurant’s employees working and fund the free meals — are Brian Boehringer, Homer Bush, Cecil Fielder, Jason Giambi, Pat Kelly, Jim Leyritz, Jeff Nelson and Tanyon Sturtze. Pretty good! That’s a whole lot of pinstriped love for a neighborhood where many Yankees live due to its proximity to the Stadium. Those who want to join the cause can buy a “NYC Stronger Together” T-shirt, the proceeds of which will go toward these meals.
You might recall that Wells was a big memorabilia collector even as a player. He wore an actual Babe Ruth cap for the first inning of a 1997 start at the Stadium; he sold that cap for over $500,000 in 2012 after originally buying it for $35,000. He also has a baseball autographed by the game’s three top home-run hitters: Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. Selling some of his possessions now to help those in need, and simultaneously engaging in some Twitter trash-talk with fans and haters, is right in his wheelhouse.
“People are missing baseball,” Wells said. “What the hell else do I have to do? Might as well do something like this, give people something like this, put a smile on their face.”
This week’s Pop Quiz Question came from Gary Mintz of South Huntington: In a 2009 episode of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Mac writes a “love letter” to a Phillies All-Star. Name the Phillie.
There are no sports, but there are still sports podcasts, including some from The Post. Check out last week’s “Amazin’ But True” in which a few of us paid tribute to Anthony Causi, the brilliant Post photographer who died last week of COVID-19.
Your Pop Quiz Answer is Chase Utley.
If you have a tidbit that connects baseball with popular culture, please send it to me at [email protected]
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