David Wells’ dinner speech motivates Domingo German to pitch a perfect game

Yankees starter Domingo German with his teammates after pitching a perfect game against the A's on June 28, 2023, at Oakland. Inset is David Wells after pitching his perfect game in 1999.
Michael Bennington
Friday June 30, 2023

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OAKLAND, Calif. — With the 24th MLB perfect game to his name, Domingo German basks in the limelight of historic glory. However, his push for this momentous milestone came after he listened to David Wells, who achieved the same milestone for the Yankees in 1998, earlier this year.

The occasion was the Yankees’ annual Homecoming Dinner. David Wells received a special tribute during the franchise event. All present on the occasion commemorated the 25th anniversary of his remarkable achievement of pitching the franchise’s first regular-season perfect game. There Domingo German got a chance to interact with Wells.

In the aftermath of his own encounter with history, Domingo German reflected on that conversation and how he drew inspiration from it.

Domingo German revealed that he had a talk with David Wells about his perfect game and the significance it held for him. He mentioned that Wells expressed how much the achievement meant to him and how it still felt fresh in his mind even after 25 years. This conversation made Domingo German realize the impact and significance of pitching a perfect game and he drew motivation from it.

He shared that it had always been a dream of his to achieve perfection on the mound, and to accomplish that dream on Wednesday night was a remarkable feat. According to the Yankees starter, while he is still an active player and focused on competing, the sensation of pitching a perfect game is an extraordinary and unparalleled experience.

David Wells got a hero's escort from his teammates after retiring all 27 Twins on May 17, 1998.
AP

“He was talking about the perfect game and how much it meant to him and how much he felt like he did it yesterday,” the pitcher acknowledged. “That made me realize, ‘Wow, what an impactful achievement.’ For me, it was always a dream to pitch a perfect game. When you’re coming up as a pitcher, it’s something you dream about, perfection. Being able to do that [Wednesday] night, it’s a great accomplishment. I’m still active, I’m not retired, we’re still competing, but that sensation is very unique in itself.”

The Yankees clubhouse celebration for Domingo German

During the late hours of Wednesday night and into the early hours of Thursday morning, Domingo German took the time to relish in his remarkable 99-pitch performance. The Yankees clubhouse at Oakland Coliseum hosted a celebration itself to commemorate his illustrious milestone.

As the Yankees made their way back to the clubhouse, Aaron Judge addressed the team. Soon after, Domingo German was presented with the player of the game belt, and he took the opportunity to deliver a heartfelt speech of his own. The significance of the belt was amplified as it contained the name of German’s youngest son inscribed on the inner side.

Domingo German gets Yankees belt after he pitched a perfect game against the A's on June 28, 2023, at Oakland.
NYY/ Twitter

Others found their own unique ways to celebrate and preserve their own special mementos. Boone, in his own distinctive celebration, enjoyed a late-night meal of three tacos from Jack in the Box in his hotel room, relishing the replays of the final innings. He made sure to keep a ball from the game as a cherished souvenir, intending to have Domingo German autograph it, along with his collection of lineup cards.

Manager Aaron Boone mentioned that Domingo German’s speech was a bit more extended than usual, but he emphasized that it was a fantastic night overall. Boone expressed his delight in witnessing the post-game celebration on the field, with the overwhelming presence of Yankees fans making it feel even more momentous. He also highlighted the touching moment when Domingo German spoke sincerely from the heart, considering the emotional week he had experienced with the loss of a loved one. Boone found the whole experience to be pretty remarkable and special.

Yankees clubhouse manager Lou Cucuzza Jr. gathered a collection of keepsakes for Domingo German to hold onto. These mementos included his cleats, uniform, hat, glove, and belt. The starter made sure to obtain the ball from the last out, which will now have a special place in his personal collection at home.

Pitching coach Matt Blake, who had missed out on being present during Corey Kluber’s no-hitter in 2021 due to COVID quarantine, took special care of his game chart from German’s perfect game. He ensured its authentication and had plans to have both German and catcher Kyle Higashioka sign it, adding a meaningful touch to the memento.

Anthony Rizzo, Harrison Bader, and Aaron Judge greet Domingo German after his perfect game against the A's on June 28, 2023, at Oakland.

German talked to his wife, family

With little time to rest, the Yankees’ right-handed pitcher found himself grappling with the realization that his life had undergone a significant transformation following his historic achievement as the 24th pitcher in MLB history to complete a perfect game.

Domingo German reached out to his loved ones shortly after returning to the team hotel in San Francisco, savoring the moment with those closest to him. He spent the majority of the night reaching out to his family members, his wife, and his dad via FaceTime.

The srater treasured the opportunity to have a conversation with his wife, relishing the chance to share the intricate details of his remarkable achievement and engaging in nostalgic reflections on the game itself.

“Yeah, I didn’t get much sleep,” remarked Domingo German with a tired yet cheerful expression as he sat at his locker, eager to share his experiences despite the exhaustion on Thursday.

Domingo German described the emotional experience, with tears of joy and reflection, as he contemplated the significance of his remarkable achievement. The Yankees starter expressed his awe and appreciation for the accomplishment of pitching a game of such magnitude, recognizing its incredible nature.

Domingo German had faced a challenging week as he mourned the passing of his uncle, Saint Jacques Gean Louis, just a few days prior to his start on Wednesday. As he continued to process the magnitude of his achievement, Domingo acknowledged that he had gained some perspective on the significance it would hold for him in the days to come.

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