- 3B, DH, SS, LF, OF, 1B, 2B, P, RF
- The Rat, G-Man
- August 19, 1958
- 180 lbs
- Major League Debut:
- 9-20-1981 with MIN
- Allstar Selections:
- 1986 GG, 1987 ALCS, 1987 GG, 1988 GG, 1989 GG, 1995 SS
Gaetti was a smash in debuts. He hit a home run in his first major league at-bat, homered twice in the first game ever played at the Metrodome, and went deep in his first two post-season at-bats. The rest of his career was pretty amazing as well, as he logged 360 homers and retired among the all-time leaders in games played, assists and putouts by a third baseman. Gaetti was the best defensive third baseman in the American League in the 1980s, and he played well until he was 40 years old. He was a fan favorite nearly everywhere he played, and he played for six teams in 20 seasons. With the Minnesota Twins, he helped win the 1987 World Series title, and won four Gold Glove Awards. Later, he had strong offensive seasons for the Royals and Cardinals while still flashing the leather at third base.
Gaetti's last starting gig was with the Cubs in 1999. The next season he was gone, and Willie Greene was at the hot corner.
His offensive numbers were better in 1986, and possibly 1988, but in 1987 Gaetti excelled in the field and at bat, while helping the Twins to their first World Series title. He clubbed 31 homers, set a career-high with 109 RBI, scored 95 runs and won the Gold Glove at third. He committed just 11 errors in 150 games at the hot corner. In the playoffs, he was named MVP in the defeat of Detroit, and had four extra-base hits and four RBI against the Cardinals in the Fall Classic.
Gary Gaetti hit a homer in his first ML at-bat, on September 20, 1981, off Rangers' knuckleballer Charlie Hough. Nine years later, almost to the day, on September 23, 1990, Gaetti blasted his 200th career homer - a grand slam off Hough.
Houston Astros (2002-2006)
Defense at the hot corner.
Strike zone judgment. Gaetti drew just 634 walks in 20 seasons, and struck out 1,602 times.
On July 17, 1990, Gaetti and the Twins recorded two triple plays against the Red Sox at Fenway Park. In the fourth inning, with three Boston runners on board, Gaetti went 5-4-3 on a ground ball hit by former teammate Tom Brunansky. In the eighth, with runners on first and second, Jody Reed grounded to Gaetti, who again stepped on third, fired to shortstop Al Newman at second, who relayed to first for the triple play. Despite the defensive gems, the Twins lost, 1-0. The twin triple plays were a major league record, and ran Gaetti's personal total to five.
First Game Under the Roof
Gaetti welcomed the Metrodome in grand fashion. In the first game played in that facility, on April 6, 1982, he went 4-for-4, with two homers, and nearly made it three. Late in the game, which Minnesota lost, 11-7 to the Mariners, Gaetti laced a ball deep to left-center. Rounding third he barrelled for home, trying to add an inside-the-park homer to his ledger. But he was rifled down at the plate.
1987 was Gaetti's best overall season, but he was far from being a road warrior. That season, he hit only .205 with a .250 OBP and dismal .389 SLG mark away from the Metrodome (74 games). At home, he hit .306 with a .575 SLG mark, helped by 18 homers and 57 RBI. Riding that trend, the Twins lost every game away from home in the playoffs, but won every contest under the Dome... Gaetti was the Astros hitting coach from 2002-2005, and for the first half of 2006.
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- Gary Gaetti