Beneath the shirts Wells is even more impressively decorated. He commissioned Tom Pennshaw, the Detroit tattoo artiste responsible for illustrating Dennis Rodman, to etch portraits of relatives on his anatomy. Peeking out from Wells's right deltoid is his five-year-old son, Brandon. "It's convenient," Wells says. "Instead of pulling out my wallet all the time, I can just Hip up my sleeve." Asked what he plans to do when Brandon gets older, Wells says, "No problem. I'll just have a goatee and a mustache carved in."
Wells's back bears a likeness of his grandmother, a San Diego Padres fan who took him to games at Jack Murphy Stadium when he was a kid. An engraving of his mother, who died in January of complications from diabetes, appears in blue ink above his heart. Curiously, the tattoo shows Mom as a three-year-old. "She looks precious," Wells more or less explains. "When the season's over, I'll get her tattooed on my back. I'll have it copied off a photo taken right before she died." He will not add his ex-wife to the gallery. "Unnecessary," he says. "She's been on my ass since our divorce."
YANKEES QUIPPER COMMUNES WITH DEAD BIKER MOM
Wells may have inherited a stubborn irascibility from his mother. Eugenia Ann Wells was an independent woman who had five kids by four men. Around the gritty Ocean Beach section of San Diego, her handle was Attitude Annie.
David grew up an Angels fan—a Hell's Angels fan. Attitude's longtime boyfriend, Crazy Charlie, was a chapter president. On weekends David, Annie and Charlie would roar off to biker rallies in Northern California on Charlie's Harley. Angels used to converge on David's Little League games. The bikers would each give him a dollar for every strikeout and a five-spot for every win. "I could pull in $100 a game, and nobody dared to screw around with me," lie says. "Try, and I'd say, 'I'll get my mom's boyfriend on you.' "
Crazy Charlie wasn't much of a surrogate father, but he had a swell left hook, I came into the kitchen once with my fists up, and he clocked me," Wells says. "I was 12, and I started crying. I said, 'What'd you do that for?' He said, Anytime you put your hands up, you'd better use 'em.' Other than that, he treated me like a king."
Wells didn't know his real dad. "I'd always assumed he'd died," he says. Until one night when he was 22. He dreamed he had been given the address of his father's house in West Virginia. He found the street, but the house was gone. When he awoke, he asked his mother, "Does my dad live in West Virginia?"
Mom reeled. "How did you know that?" "I dreamed it," he said. "How can I reach him?" Attitude Annie rummaged through a drawer and unearthed a phone number. David dialed it and got his father's sister. She gave him another number. David dialed again.
A low voice: "Hello."
Wells, nervously: "Hello. Is David Pritt there?"