The year was 1999 and life was good for David Wells.
The left-handed pitcher was coming off an all-star season that included a perfect game, and his New York Yankees had just won the first of what would become three consecutive World Series titles. Then a trade north of the border burst Wells’ bubble.
Interacting with fans on Twitter on Friday, Wells revealed the deal that landed him back with the Toronto Blue Jays was “the worst day of his career.”
That blockbuster trade, of course, saw the Blue Jays send ace Roger Clemens to the Bronx in exchange for Wells, Homer Bush and Graeme Lloyd.
At age 36, a scorned Wells led the American League with 231.2 innings pitched and seven complete games in 1999. He posted a 17-10 record but struggled to a 4.82 ERA.
Perhaps over the disappointment of shedding the pinstripes, Wells rebounded in 2000, returning to all-star form and leading the AL with 20 wins. His 35 starts and nine complete games topped the majors, while his ERA was a more respectable 4.11 (3.50 FIP).
Even though Wells admitted he was upset about the trade, he acknowledged some of the good times he had with the franchise, praising the city of Toronto and the fans. He also claimed fellow pitcher Pat Hentgen was one of his favourite teammates ever.
Wells was part of the 1992 World Series championship team during his first stint in Toronto and would have seen the country come alive with Blue Jays fever. He appeared in four games of that series and did not allow a run.
All told, Wells’ second stint with the club came to an end after the 2000 campaign. Toronto traded him to the Chicago White Sox in the off-season before he signed back with the Yankees as a free agent in 2002.
It is unclear if rejoining the Yankees was “the best day of his career.”