I figured I’d take a bit of a break from the 88 Project last week, but I’m ready to dive back in today. To get you up to speed, my plan is to cover all the relevant players of 1988 and today, then post the rest of the players by team. I’m not sure how long this series will end up being, but I’ve targeted under 65, so we’ll see. Today we’ll take a look at a player who was only of semi-note in 1988 but went on to a fruitful, if colorful, career: David Wells.
Dave’s all “Sup. I cut you.” Turns out Boomer was in the Jays system for a lot longer than I had realized; he was drafted in 1982, and turned in some fairly mediocre years in the minors leading up to his big-league debut in 1987. It’s one of those situations where you wonder if his high draft round (he was a second-round pick) combined with a lack of pitching talent on the big league squad gave him a chance. To be honest, he didn’t do a whole lot with that opportunity in his early years, either.
As for the card…well, it’s B roll material again, isn’t it? The expression, the long shadows? Nothing notable on this card, really.
This card, of course, might be even less memorable. So let’s talk instead about Wells as a draftee. I found an article at the LA Times from 1982 talking about his time in high school. I think the first few paragraphs are pretty interesting. Picturing the Wells of later years saying this stuff is pretty amusing:
Man, check out those powder blues. Love those uniforms even to this day. This card is a little better. Sure, the 88 Fleer design is cheesy, but I’ve mentioned I have a soft spot in my heart for it, and the blue works with the uniform here. I can’t quite tell what stadium that is in the background. Is it Tiger Stadium or Yankee Stadium? Those are the two I’ve narrowed it down to, and he pitched in both twice in 1988, so it could easily be either of them.
I found something else interesting, this time in the Toronto Star, that shows Wells and Todd Stottlemyre were training together over the winter of 87-88:
[David Wells] has already started his own personal training program in Dunedin, along with rookie righthander Todd Stottlemyre. He’s throwing every day and also working out at a fitness centre with trainer Tommy Craig.
His whole focus has changed as a result of last season. He had always been a starting pitcher, but after two disappointing starts with the Jays just before the All-Star break, he went back to Syracuse and switched to the bullpen.
Oddly, this may be my favorite card of them all. Very unusual for an 88 Topps issue, but it captures the Spring Training referenced above. I also dig the effect of his arm over the name. Sure, the yellow and red are godawful with the Blue Jays, but that’s 88 Topps for you.
Okay, so I had decided to keep this to information that was 1988 and earlier, but I just couldn’t resist the headline this article from 1989:
Portly David Wells ready to trim ballast
Yeah…how did that work out?