"My dream came true when I became a Yankee," Wells says, and he means it. "Now I can die happy." His reverence for the team contrasts oddly with his irreverence toward everything else. "Yankee Stadium is all history and atmosphere," he says almost solemnly. "The spirits are still there, feeding everybody. More so the Babe's, because that was his stomping ground. When you're out on the field, you suck it all in and bear down."
He was only half kidding when he asked Steinbrenner for Ruth's number 3. "It's retired," said Steinbrenner.
"Come on, George," Wells said. "Bring it out of retirement."
"All right then. Just give me oh-three."
"O.K., what about point three?"
"Ha! Ha! Ha!"
Wells settled for 33. "This way," he reasons, "I can be the Babe twice over."
While with Baltimore last year, Wells made a pilgrimage to the city's Babe Ruth Museum. "The place gave me chills," he says. "I read the walls. I checked out the memorabilia. I paced around the room he was born in. I went in feeling good and came out feeling great." His trove of Babeabilia includes a bat, a jersey, three signed baseballs and a cap that set him back $35,000.