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Gary Gaetti
Gary Gaetti

Name: Gary Gaetti
Height: 6-0
Weight: 205 lbs.
Throws: Right
Bats: Right
Positions: Designated Hitter
Born: August 19, 1958 in Centralia, Illinois
Drafted: Selected by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round of the 1978 free-agent ; did not sign ... Selected by the Chicago White Sox in the secondary phase of the 1978 free-agent draft; did not sign ... Selected by the Minnesota Twins in the secondary phase of the 1979 free-agent draft.


Biography:

Gary Joseph Gaetti was born August 19, 1958 in Centralia, Illinois. He was nicknamed "G-Man" or "Rat" during his earlier days. He was a third baseman in Major League Baseball for the Minnesota Twins (1981-90), California Angels (1991-93), Kansas City Royals (1993-95), St. Louis Cardinals (1996-98), Chicago Cubs (1998-99) and Boston Red Sox (2000).

Gary Gaetti was the 1980 Midwest League home run champ and became the 47th major leaguer to homer in his first big league at-bat, September 20, 1981. In 1982 he replaced former co-Rookie of the Year John Castino at third for the Twins.

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Gary was an excellent defensive player and won four Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence from 1986 through 1989. He was a power-hitting third baseman and had his best offensive season in 1986 when he batted .287 with 34 home runs and 108 RBI’s.

An outstanding defensive player with multiple league leaderships in putouts, assists, his strong offense continued in 1987 with 31 home runs and 109 RBI’s. In the 1987 LCS he became the first player ever to hit two home runs in his first two at-bats of postseason play and became a key player in winning the World Series for Minnesota in’87 against the Detroit Tigers. He was the LCS MVP, won his second straight Gold Glove, went to the All-Star game and set a Twins third base record with a .973 fielding average.

In 1988, he became a born-again Christian, completely changing his image, which up until that time was the image of a hard-drinking baseball player interested primarily in the game, his mullet hair, booze and cheap women.

He went on to make All-Star appearances in 1988 and 1989. He gained notoriety in the '89 All-Star Game when he displayed a religious slogan written on his batting gloves to the TV cameras during the pre-game introductions. Against the Red Sox on July 17, 1990, he became part of a major-league record when he started three triple plays at Fenway Park. His batting average slipped to .229 in 1990 and Gary Gaetti signed with the Angels, replacing Jack Howell at third.

His production dropped significantly with the Angels. He hit just 12 homers in 1992, nowhere near the production California had expected. Never a selective hitter, he drew just 21 walks. Even worse, his .926 fielding percentage that year was the lowest of his career, and by the end of the season he had been shifted to first base. The Angels released him in June 1993.

He then signed with the Royals, who had lost their projected regular third baseman, Keith Miller, to injury, and had been playing struggling rookie Phil Hiatt at third. Handed the third base job, Gary Gaetti turned his career around. In 1995, at the age of 36, he put together one of his best seasons, hitting .261 with 35 home runs and 96 RBI’s, setting a career high in home runs and missing the Royals team record for most home runs in a season by one.

Following the 1995 season, Gary signed as a free agent with the Cardinals, where he enjoyed two more productive seasons before being released again in August 1998 after the Cardinals' acquisition of Fernando Tatis. Gary then signed with the Cubs, where he enjoyed a good two months during the Cubs' pennant drive, hitting .320 with 8 home runs and 27 RBI’s. He helped the Cubs win the National League wild card.

Gary Gaetti, now pushing 40, began showing signs of age. Hindered by a bum knee, he wrapped up his career with two seasons for the Cubs and a brief cup of coffee with Boston, valued as much for his veteran leadership as for his bat. He only played in five games in April 2000 at the age of 41.

Gary Gaetti became the interim hitting coach for the Houston Astros on July 14, 2004 when the Astros dismissed manager Jimy Williams, hitting coach Harry Spilman, and pitching coach Burt Hooton. Gary was previously the hitting coach for the AAA level New Orleans Zephyrs.

Gary’s great performance with the Twins makes him a fan favorite and his long career makes him a Minnesota Twin “wish list” for Hall of Fame status.

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