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Can I quote me on that?

National | New York Yankees pitcher David Wells's claim he was misquoted in his autobiography lands him in elite company.

Issue: "Truth or CAIR," March 22, 2003

New York Yankees pitcher David Wells's claim he was misquoted in his autobiography lands him in elite company. The bombastic Yankees starter joins former NBA star Charles Barkley as possibly the only two sports figures claiming misquotation in books under their own bylines.

Copies of Mr. Wells's book, Perfect I'm Not! Boomer on Beer, Brawls, Backaches & Baseball, began arriving in New YorkÐarea bookstores on March 7. Mr. Wells and co-author Chris Kreski wrote that the hurler was "half-drunk" when he pitched a perfect game in 1998, drawing the ire of the Yankees organization. Later Mr. Wells said he was not "half-drunk" as he and Mr. Kreski claimed. The book also discusses steroid and amphetamine use in the major leagues and makes unfavorable statements about some teammates.

Now the 240-pound righthander will start the 2003 season about $100,000 lighter. The Yankees fined Mr. Wells, saying the book tarnished the club's reputation. Mr. Wells's reputation as a punch line has taken off like one of his tall tales.

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The book has spawned jokes in newspaper columns from Phoenix to Chicago. One zinger from Chicago Tribune columnist Mike Downey: "Wells now claims 'he didn't read the final draft.' ... Boomer's idea of a final draft is apparently a last glass of Budweiser."

The only question now is whether the autobiography will appear on fiction or nonfiction racks.

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