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Perfect I'm Not: Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches, and Baseball Paperback – Bargain Price, September 14, 2004

4.3 out of 5 stars 51 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Perfect I'm Not is, indeed, not a perfect book, but as in baseball, literary imperfection can make for a thrilling ride. Part Horatio Alger, part libertine, Wells peppers the narrative of his rise from poverty in Ocean Beach, California to baseball fame and fortune with numerous prurient tales from behind the locker room door. He is frank about the use of steroids among his fellow players and he's not afraid to burn major bridges (one must assume they were already on fire) in his ferocious attacks on such baseball luminaries as veteran general manager Pat Gillick. And the story behind his woozy perfect game is legend. All this is entertaining stuff and worth the price of admission.

The book, however, falls too often into a pattern of explication and justification for Wells’s "entertaining" run-ins with the law, baseball management, players, and even his own family. We learn that young Dave Wells once punched his sister and broke her jaw, but, he explains, this was because his sister had scraped his sunburned back with her fingernails. This childhood story is then repeated--in a grown up form--several times. In many cases, it does seem that he is justified in claiming innocence--or at least in claiming he got an eye for an eye. But repetition of these explications--which even include bad pitching performances caused, we learn, by nascent physical problems (elbow, shoulder, bone chips, gout, back)--take away his agency in his own story. The hero is always a victim. In the end, then, the book is as flawed as its author, offering entertaining insight--some perhaps unintentional--into the man and his game.

--Patrick O’Kelley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Publishers Weekly

Wells's rollicking memoir of his unlikely journey to the top of the hill at Yankee Stadium reads like Bull Durham rewritten by Ozzy Osbourne and Howard Stern. After a juicy setup that recounts his in-drag appearance on Saturday Night Live with teammates Derek Jeter and David Cone, Wells and Kreski settle into a three-up, three-down pace, chronicling Boomer's rise from Hells Angels mascot through the minors in barren Medicine Hat, Canada, down to winter ball in Venezuela, where he gets dysentery and is almost killed and on up to his crowning achievement: the perfect game he threw for the Yanks while hungover in 1998. The pitcher's life often resembles one of Kreski's credits, Beavis and Butt-head, resulting in a look-back-in-laughter that earns on average more than a chuckle per page. That should come as no surprise to anyone who has ever seen Wells interviewed; what's unexpected are his painstaking accounts of such turns in his life as the career-threatening back surgery he faced in 2001, to say nothing of the scrape he got into in a Manhattan diner last year with a drunken heckler. Fans will applaud because Wells's inside baseball divulges numbers as well as names, and it sketches as uncensored a portrait of today's money-and-media-saturated pro sports as they come.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: It Books (September 14, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0060748117
  • ISBN-13: 978-0060748111
  • ASIN: B000C4SVS2
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (51 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,766,329 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Joseph Siegler TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 10, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I never liked David Wells, mostly because I only knew him as a Yankee player. That alone is generally enough to get me not to like someone. :) I wanted to check this out solely because of the "hype" surrounding the book. And after having read the book, I have to wonder if the negative press surrounding the book and some of it's "expositions" weren't self inflicted. Read the book. It's a wonderfully entertaining read. He talks about all the problems he had in his life early on, from his time in the minors, to the boredom in the bullpen (although his story about getting women in the stands to flash them is awesome) to his battles with team management, and lots on the Yankees. I also got a charge out of his comments on former Reds owner Marge Schott, and her dog.
I have to admit that this book goes on my recommend list. It was a funny read, and for a baseball fan like myself, gives me some insight into the mind of a baseball player. I really enjoyed it. The link here is for the hardback edition of the book. There is a paperback version scheduled for release, but it's not currently slated until Mar 1, 2004. The hardback is available now.
Oh, BTW, if you're someone who isn't into the liberal use of foul language, you might want to stay away from the book. It's not like every third word is f this or f that, but there is definitely more than a smattering of f-bombs and the like in the book.
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Format: Hardcover
I'm not sure why David Wells was slapped with a six-figure fine over this book. Most of the "controversy" appears to be caused by out-of-context quotes randomly selected by the press. The supposed negative statements about teammates Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens are spoken in the larger context of praising their baseball skills. The much-criticized "25 to 40 percent" statistic of ballplayers who use illegal steroids and performance-enhancing drugs ("10 to 25%" is the number in the edited book) is part of an enlightening discussion of how Jose Canseco went from being a minor-league toothpick, to a tree trunk with 462 career home runs (and a book deal of his own).
Anyway, this book is just plain funny. Most sports biographies are written by sportswriters: half of them by Dick Schaap, half by Peter Golenbock, and Catfish Hunter for some reason chose Armen Keteyian. Wells goes with comedy writer Chris Kreski, best known for William Shatner's non-fiction epics, and "Growing Up Brady". Kreski's also a lifelong Mets fan, which makes the book easier for me to read, certainly. His ability to recap baseball games is only adequate -- he makes some minor factual errors, misspells some of the player names Wells dictated into the tape recorder, and gives Wells an impossibly specific memory about old games ("Two hours and forty-eight minutes later, 49,328 screaming fans watched me ...") -- but gives Boomer plenty of jokes and cutting insights into the many peaks and valleys of his career.
Wells decries the corporate naming of Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, saying that to him, it'll always be the Jack Murphy Stadium of his youth. Which is a wonderful sentiment... and wrong, since it was actually called San Diego Stadium until Wells was 17.
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By A Customer on March 17, 2003
Format: Hardcover
3 reviews, 2 from people who obviously have not read the book and are Yankee-haters. The simple fact is, David Wells is a flake, but he's also a winner. He's the kind of guy that many a baseball fan would like to share a beer with, and I mean the regular fans, not the luxury box-sitting, shrimp cocktail-eating and leave in the 7th inning to beat the traffic "fans". The stories are about Wells' experiences, not what the media has spun to represent their own points of view and axes to grind. I applaud him for speaking his mind. There is going to be fallout from it, from people who object to the way that he portrays events, to the players and fans of cities and teams he has lit into, and he'll have to live with that. I appreciate his candor. He's no role model, certainly. And reading about his experiences, a sane, rational and sober person will conclude that it is not the way to make it to the major leagues. But it is how he chooses to live his life and as long as he's not hurting anyone I say "hoist another one, Boomer".
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By A Customer on March 15, 2003
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is an incredibly entertaining book. David Wells has a very funny style of telling stories and his personality comes through very well. He gives you an inside look into MLB but unlike most players, he talks about everything--the good and the bad. Forget about the 'controversy' surrounding the book, it's just a good, fun read whether those controversial statements are in it or not.
I would give it only 4 stars but gave it 5 because I saw that someone gave it 1 star just because he was a Red Sox fan.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
At times he comes off as a long, lost best friend and at others he is a self-inflated, self-absorbed ass. He is a colorful character providing illuminating stories from the earliest days of playing rookie ball and Venezualan winter ball with beer guzzling, tail chasing future MLB players including Pat Borders, Cecil Fielder, Rob Duecy, and Todd Stottlemyre to the later days as a member of the Yankees. Wells is a good pitcher with a booming personality who pitched for some great teams and of course will always be remembered for his May 17, 1998 perfect game. His career numbers do not support his own assessed value (4.04 ERA, 1 year with at least 20 wins) but his book will stay on the top shelf of my collection of baseball books.

I found myself laughing out loud over and over again. Steroid and cortisone stories aside, Wells adds candid insight into the managerial and GM activities from every team he played for (up to the end of the 2002 season). Inside observations are made on notable managers (Cito Gaston, Sparky Ansderson, Davy Johnson, Joe Torre, and Jim Fregosi) and GMs ("stand" Pat Gillick, Gord Ash, Jim Bowden, Ken Williams, and Brian Cashman). Wells also includes colorful stories of two of the most notoriously hated and loved baseball owners of the last 50 eyars -- Marge Schott and George Steinbrenner.

It was odd to read the momentum praise and glory of the '98 Yankees who won 114 games without any mention of the record-tying 116 wins by the '01 Seattle Mariners . By failing to mention this incredible milestone, he appeared to be protecting the legacy of the 114 win NY team. He should have mentioned the 116 win Seattle team and emphasized the fact that the NY team went on to finish like champions by winning the world series.
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