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11 Years Ago Today

Boomer’s Perfect Game

Back in those heady Yankee days – New York won the World Series in 1998 to go along with titles in 1996, 1999 and 2000 — Wells was one of the anchors of a solid pitching staff. And whenever he was on the mound, O’Neill’s defensive radar was up.

“Boomer was a fly ball pitcher so I used to get a lot of fly balls when he pitched,” O’Neill said.

Which is why the ninth inning of the perfect game was somewhat ironic. When it started, O’Neill had yet to record a putout. But the inning opened with a Jon Shave fly ball to right and it ended with Pat Meares’ fly ball to the same place.

Wells memorably pumped his fist twice by his side as the ball took its path to baseball immortality. The players erupted from the dugout and sprinted in from their positions, mobbing Wells on the mound. O’Neill moved a little slower, making sure to protect the memento in his glove.

“The first rule is ‘don’t throw it into the stands,’ ” O’Neill insisted, though that didn’t stop him from trying to convince Wells that’s just what he had done. “All I really remember is shaking his hand in the locker room and giving it to him.”

Sterling’s call of the final out.

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