TORONTO -- Given his impressive statistics, Vernon Wells probably enjoys facing a number of pitchers around the Major Leagues. One of the Blue Jays center fielder's all-time favorite mound opponents, however, wasn't a big-league hurler at all.
It was his father -- Vernon Wells Jr. (the Toronto center fielder's full name is Vernon Wells III).
"I played in a coach pitch league when I was a little kid, and I remember taking batting practice against him," the two-time Gold Glove Award winner recalled. "It was fun to get to see your dad on the mound throwing to you, just like in the backyard at home."
Wells didn't reveal how he fared against his dad's arsenal of pitches, but the coach pitch squad was one of the Blue Jays star's first organized teams, and was one of the earliest of many memories he has of experiencing the game alongside his father.
Of all the tips that Vernon III has received from coaches, managers and instructors in his years playing the game, he has always remembered one particular piece of advice from his first coach that applied to both his playing career and his life.
"When I was younger," Wells said, "[my dad] told me, 'Whenever you want something, whenever you want to achieve something, you have to work for it. That's the only way you'll get what you need and want in life.'"
Mark Polishuk is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.