On May 17 Wells dragged his 5.23 ERA out to the Yankee Stadium mound to face the Minnesota Twins. He certainly started off stronger than on that depressing day against the Rangers, locking up with young right-hander LaTroy Hawkins in a taut duel.
Gradually, as awareness of impending history wafted across the stands like the aroma of steamed hot dogs, the pressures of a close game gave way to the stress of an individual pursuit. Through six innings, 18 Twins had gone up against Wells and as many had returned to their dugout.
In honor of the timeless baseball tradition, Wells began to be quarantined in his own dugout. No one wanted to sit close enough to him to be engaged in a conversation that somehow might turn to perfection.
Jon Shave led off the ninth with a soft fly ball to right. Javier Valentin went down as strikeout No. 11. Wells' 120th pitch was a fastball to Pat Meares, who lifted it innocently to right.
Even before the ball settled into Paul O'Neill's glove, Wells had crumbled to his knees, overcome by the sensations of having notched only the 15th perfect game in baseball's long history.