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Gary Gaetti

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Gary Joseph Gaetti
(The Rat or G-Man)

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[edit] Biographical Information

Known for his power and defense, Gary Gaetti was one of the top third basemen in baseball in the 1980s and part of the 1990s.

Gaetti was signed as a 1st round pick (11th overall in the secondary phase) of the 1979 amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins and scout Bill Messmann. He made his pro debut in 1979 with the Elizabethton Twins, where he hit .257 with 14 homers in 66 games. He continued to show power at each level in the minors, hitting 22 home runs for the Wisconsin Rapids Twins in 1980 and 30 for the Orlando Twins the following year. He made his big league debut with the Twins late in the 1981 campaign, and he homered in his first at bat in the majors, against Charlie Hough of the Texas Rangers on September 20th.

Gaetti became the Twins' regular third baseman in 1982 and was a fixture at third for the club for nine seasons. In addition to averaging 22 homers a year during that time, he won four straight Gold Gloves from 1986 to 1989 and was an All-Star in 1988 and 1989. He played a major role when the club won the 1987 World Series, hitting 3 homers in the postseason and being named 1987 ALCS MVP.

His production fell off sharply in 1989, as his batting average dropped 50 points and his OPS fell from .905 in 1988 to .690. It was noted that Gaetti's career declined at the same time he became a born-again Christian, and that the Twins' clubhouse atmosphere was negatively affected as a result.[1]

Gaetti set a record on July 17, 1990, by starting two triple plays in a game against the Boston Red Sox; it was the only time in major league history that a team had ever turned two triple plays in the same game. After finishing a subpar 1990 season (when he hit a career-low .229 with 16 homers), Gaetti became a free agent and signed a four-year, $11.4 million contract with the California Angels. However, he struggled in his two-plus seasons with the team, hitting .234 with just 30 home runs in that time. Gaetti was released in June of the 1993 campaign after appearing in only 20 games. He then caught on with the Kansas City Royals and put up somewhat better numbers in his first season and a half there. In 1995, he bounced back and had his finest year in nearly a decade, clubbing 35 homers with the Royals, just one short of their franchise record held by Steve Balboni, and being named an American League Silver Slugger for the first (and only) time in his career.

Prior to the 1996 season, Gaetti signed with the St. Louis Cardinals, and he played two and a half seasons with the club. He was let go by the Cards during the 1998 season and picked up by the Chicago Cubs less than a week later, becoming the only player to be a teammate of both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during their record-breaking campaign. He was released by the Cubs after the 1999 season. Gaetti signed with the Boston Red Sox in 2000 but announced his retirement less than two weeks into the season.

After retiring as a player, Gaetti coached in the minors with the New Orleans Zephyrs from 2002 to 2004. From 2004 to 2006, he was the Houston Astros' hitting coach. Following the 2006 season, Gaetti was named hitting coach of the Durham Bulls. In 2012, he was appointed manager of the Sugar Land Skeeters in the Atlantic League.

Gaetti's son Joe played baseball for NC State and later played in the Colorado Rockies farm system.

[edit] Notable Achievements

  • 2-time AL All-Star (1988 & 1989)
  • 1987 ALCS MVP
  • 4-time AL Gold Glove Winner (1986-1989)
  • AL Silver Slugger Award Winner (1995)
  • 20-Home Run Seasons: 8 (1982, 1983, 1985-1988, 1995 & 1996)
  • 30-Home Run Seasons: 3 (1986, 1987 & 1995)
  • 100 RBI Seasons: 2 (1986 & 1987)
  • Won a World Series with the Minnesota Twins in 1987

[edit] Year-By-Year Minor League Managerial Record

Year Team League Record Finish Organization Playoffs
2012 Sugar Land Skeeters Atlantic League 64-76 6th Independent Leagues
2013 Sugar Land Skeeters Atlantic League 95-45 1st Independent Leagues Lost in 1st round

[edit] Records Held

  • Triple plays, third baseman, career, 7
  • Career HR's among players who homered in their first ever major-league at bat, 360.

[edit] References

  1. The Sporting News, February 4, 1991, p. 36, col. 3

[edit] Further Reading

  • Gary Gaetti (as told to George Vass): "The Game I'll Never Forget", Baseball Digest, December 1990, pp. 55-56. [1]

[edit] Related Sites

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