Gary Gaetti

Gary Joseph Gaetti (/ˈɡaɪ.ɛti/; born August 19, 1958), is an American former third baseman in Major League Baseball for the Minnesota Twins (1981–1990), California Angels (1991–1993), Kansas City Royals (1993–1995), St. Louis Cardinals (1996–1998), Chicago Cubs (1998–1999) and Boston Red Sox (2000).

Gaetti won a World Series with Minnesota in 1987 and was the MVP of that year's American League Championship Series against the Detroit Tigers. In 1987, Gaetti became the first player ever to hit home runs in his first two postseason plate appearances. Gaetti also managed the independent league Sugar Land Skeeters from 2012-2017.[1]

Gary Gaetti
Gary Gaetti Sugar Land Skeeters July 2014
Gaetti with the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2014
Third baseman
Born: August 19, 1958 (age 60)
Centralia, Illinois
Batted: Right Threw: Right
MLB debut
September 20, 1981, for the Minnesota Twins
Last MLB appearance
April 12, 2000, for the Boston Red Sox
MLB statistics
Batting average.255
Home runs360
Runs batted in1,341
Teams
Career highlights and awards

Playing career

Gaetti played collegiate baseball for Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois and Northwest Missouri State University. Legend has it that Gaetti holds the record for the longest home run in NWMSU baseball history, an estimated 505 foot home run. Gaetti was drafted three times before finally signing with the Twins: first by the St. Louis Cardinals in the fourth round of the 1978 Major League Baseball draft (then held annually in January) and again in 1978 by the Chicago White Sox in the third round of the June secondary draft before he was drafted by the Twins in the first round of the June secondary portion of the 1979 draft. Gaetti signed on June 21, 1979.[2]

Gaetti then spent the next three years in the Twins' minor league system, playing for the rookie level Elizabethton Twins in the Appalachian League in 1979, the A-level Wisconsin Rapids Twins in the Midwest League in 1980, and the AA-level Orlando Twins in the Southern League in 1981. Gaetti then made his major league debut in nine September games and he hit a home run off of Charlie Hough in his first major league at bat. In 1982, Gaetti would become a permanent fixture at third base for the Twins and would man third base in Minnesota for the next nine seasons.

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Gaetti with St. Louis

In 1986, Gaetti batted .287 with 34 home runs and 108 runs batted in. Gaetti won four consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence from 1986 through 1989. Gaetti helped propel the Twins to the 1987 post-season and their first World Series championship, hitting .257 with 31 home runs and 109 RBI. He also hit himself into the record books, with home runs in his first two career postseason plate appearances[3] in the American League Championship Series to help the Twins upset the Detroit Tigers.

Gaetti was selected as an All-Star in 1988 and 1989. Playing against the Boston Red Sox on July 17, 1990, Gaetti helped the Twins become the only team in baseball history to turn two triple plays in the same game. Despite their defensive heroics, the Twins lost the game 1–0.[4][5]

His production at the plate would decline[6] and after hitting only .229 in 1990, Gaetti left the Twins for the Angels as a free agent. His production continued to drop off with the Angels and midway through the third year of his four-year contract, he was released, in June 1993. He was almost immediately signed by the Royals, who had lost their projected regular third baseman, Keith Miller, to injury and had been playing rookie Phil Hiatt at third. Gaetti hit 26 home runs for the Royals in 665 at-bats between 1993 and 1994, splitting time at third with Miller, David Howard, and Terry Shumpert. In 1995, Gaetti played in 137 games and at the age of 36, he hit .261 with 35 home runs and 96 RBI, winning his only Silver Slugger,[6] 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, Gaetti 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 Tatís. Gaetti immediately signed with the Cubs, where he hit .320/8/27 as the Cubs won the National League wild card. The following season, Gaetti played only semi-regularly and was released at the end of the season after hitting .204 with 9 home runs. He wound up his career the following season in Boston, appearing in five games in April 2000 at the age of 41.

Bill James noted Gaetti's baseball-related aging process as being unusual for two reasons. Unlike most other league veterans, his walk rate never improved and his rate of productivity decline was "exceptionally" slow.[7] Gaetti retired as the all-time home run king of players who homered in their first Major League at bat. Gaetti was used as an emergency relief pitcher by both the Cardinals and the Cubs, retiring with an ERA of 7.71 and one strikeout in three appearances.

Gaetti finished in the top 25 voting for American League Most Valuable Player four times in his career, three times with the Minnesota Twins (1986-1988), and once with the Kansas City Royals (1995). He finished fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting (1982). He was a four-time Golden Glove Award winner (1986-1989).[6] His 2,280 total base hits rank him 159th in the history of Major League Baseball.[8]

Retirement

Gaetti was inducted into the NWMSU athletic hall of fame, the "M-Club", in October 2003. He coached in the Houston Astros minor league system as a hitting coach with the AAA New Orleans Zephyrs from 2002 to 2004.[9] Gaetti was promoted to hitting coach for the Astros on July 14, 2004 when the team dismissed manager Jimy Williams, hitting coach Harry Spilman, and pitching coach Burt Hooton. Gaetti remained in this position until July 12, 2006, when he was fired by the Astros. Following the season, he was hired as the hitting coach for Tampa Bay's AAA affiliate, the Durham Bulls – a position he would hold through the 2008 season.[10] After working at Baseball USA in Houston, Texas in 2011,[11] Gaetti was named the first manager of the Sugar Land Skeeters.[1] The independent team began play in 2012.

On August 19, 2007, Gaetti's 49th birthday, the Minnesota Twins inducted him into the team's Hall of Fame, while the club simultaneously released a commemorative bobblehead in his honor. On October 2, 2008, former Durham Bull, rookie Evan Longoria, joined Gaetti in the record books by hitting home runs in his first two postseason at-bats.

Gaetti's son Joe played collegiate baseball for North Carolina State and played in the minor leagues in five different farm systems, including two separate stints with the Twins AA-level club, the New Britain Rock Cats. After failing to advance beyond the AAA level in the minor leagues, Joe ended his career in 2010 playing for the Lancaster Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League.[12]

See also

References

  1. ^ a b "Sugar Land Skeeters choose former Astros hitting coach, 20-year veteran Gary Gaetti as first manager". 8 August 2011.
  2. ^ "Gary Gaetti Statistics and History". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  3. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Minnesota Twins 8, Detroit Tigers 5". www.retrosheet.org.
  4. ^ "Baseball's Triple Plays – Trivia & Miscellanea". Tripleplays.sabr.org. Archived from the original on 2011-02-21. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  5. ^ "Retrosheet Boxscore: Boston Red Sox 1, Minnesota Twins 0". Retrosheet.org. 1990-07-17. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  6. ^ a b c "Gary Gaetti Stats - Baseball-Reference.com". Baseball-Reference.com.
  7. ^ James, Bill (2003-04-06). The New Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract. New York: Free Press. p. 562. ISBN 0743227220.
  8. ^ List of Major League Baseball career hits leaders
  9. ^ "Gary Gaetti - BR Bullpen". www.baseball-reference.com.
  10. ^ "Gary Gaetti to manage Sugar Land team". fbindependent.com.
  11. ^ "Baseball USA". Baseball USA. Retrieved 2011-03-28.
  12. ^ "Joe Gaetti - The Baseball Cube". www.thebaseballcube.com.

External links

1982 Minnesota Twins season

The 1982 Minnesota Twins finished 60-102, seventh in the AL West. It was the first time the Twins lost more than 100 games since moving to Minnesota.

The Twins moved into the Metrodome but only 921,186 fans attended Twins games, the lowest total in the American League.

1983 Minnesota Twins season

The 1983 Minnesota Twins finished 70–92, fifth in the AL West. 858,939 fans attended Twins games, the third-lowest total in the American League.

1984 Minnesota Twins season

The 1984 Minnesota Twins season was a season in American baseball. The team finished with a record of 81-81, tied for second in the American League West, and three games behind the division winner Kansas City Royals. Their 81-81 record was an 11-game improvement from 1983, and a 21-game improvement from their 102-loss season of 1982 (the third-worst record in franchise history).

1,598,692 fans attended Twins games, a Twins attendance record, but still the fifth-lowest total in the American League. Towards the end of the season, Calvin Griffith sold the club to local investor Carl Pohlad.

1985 Minnesota Twins season

The 1985 Minnesota Twins finished with a record of 77-85, tied for fourth in the American League West, and 14 games behind the division winner and eventual World Series champion Kansas City Royals.

1986 Minnesota Twins season

The 1986 Minnesota Twins finished at 71-91, sixth in the AL West, 21 games behind the eventual AL runner-up California Angels. 1,255,453 fans attended Twins games, the second lowest total in the American League. Pitcher Bert Blyleven made a prediction on Fan Appreciation Day on October 3, saying that if the team came together as a unit and signed some other good players, they could potentially bring a World Series championship to Minnesota. That prediction proved accurate the next year.

1987 American League Championship Series

The 1987 American League Championship Series pitted the Minnesota Twins, the American League West champions, against the Detroit Tigers, the American League East champions. Minnesota won the Series four games to one, en route to winning the 1987 World Series four games to three over the St. Louis Cardinals.

1987 Major League Baseball season

The 1987 Major League Baseball season ended with the American League Champion Minnesota Twins winning the World Series over the National League Champion St. Louis Cardinals, four games to three, as all seven games were won by the home team.

Future Hall of Famer Ken Griffey, Jr. was selected with the #1 overall pick in the draft in June by the Seattle Mariners.

1987 World Series

The 1987 World Series was the 84th edition of Major League Baseball's championship series, and the conclusion of the 1987 Major League Baseball season. It was a best-of-seven playoff played between the American League (AL) champion Minnesota Twins and the National League (NL) champion St. Louis Cardinals. The Twins defeated the Cardinals four games to three to win the Series. Twins pitcher Frank Viola was named as the 1987 World Series MVP.

Minnesota was victorious in a World Series that was the first to feature games played indoors. It was also the first World Series in which the home team won every game; this happened again in 1991 (also a Twins championship, this time over the Atlanta Braves) and in 2001 with the Arizona Diamondbacks defeating the New York Yankees.

The World Series win was the first for the Twins franchise since 1924, when the team was located in Washington, D.C., and was known as the Washington Senators.

This is the first World Series in which the series logo appeared on the jerseys; only the Cardinals wore it, however, while the Twins did not.

1988 Minnesota Twins season

The 1988 Minnesota Twins finished at 91-71, second in the AL West. 3,030,672 fans attended Twins games, at the time, establishing a new major league record. Pitcher Allan Anderson had his most successful season in 1988, winning the American League ERA title at 2.45 and compiling a record of 16-9 in 30 starts.

1989 Minnesota Twins season

The 1989 Minnesota Twins finished 80-82, fifth in the AL West. 2,277,438 fans attended Twins games, the seventh highest total in the American League.

1990 Minnesota Twins season

The 1990 Minnesota Twins, three years after their World Series title in 1987, fell to the bottom of the AL West once again. However, the season was not completely bad, as there were some bright spots that included pitchers Rick Aguilera and Scott Erickson. Aguilera converted from starter to closer and recorded 32 saves, while Erickson was promoted to the Twins in June from AA and went 8-4 with a 3.27 ERA. During Fan Appreciation Day on October 3, Outfielder Dan Gladden made a prediction on saying that even though we finished in last place this season, we're going to improve next season and if we did, they could potentially bring another World Series championship to Minnesota. That prediction proved accurate the next year.

1991 Minnesota Twins season

The 1991 Minnesota Twins of Major League Baseball (MLB) won the World Series, the second time the Twins had won the World Series since moving to Minnesota in 1961. During the 1991 regular season the Twins had an MLB-leading 15-game win streak, which remains a club record. On June 18, 1991, the streak came to an end at the hands of the Baltimore Orioles but not before the Twins moved from fifth place to first, a lead they would not relinquish until winning baseball's championship. The Twins' winning streak of 1991 falls just seven games short of the all-time American League (AL) record of 22 consecutive regular season wins set by the Cleveland Indians in 2017.

The Twins finished 95-67, first in the AL West, which represented a turnaround from 1990, when the team finished last in the division with a 74-88 record. They were the first team to go from a last-place finish to a World Series championship. They and the Atlanta Braves were the first teams to go from last place to a pennant. The Twins defeated the Braves in seven games in a Series which has been considered one of the best to have ever been played.There was a considerable reshaping of the team in January and February, beginning when third baseman Gary Gaetti left as a free agent on January 25 and signed with the California Angels. Less than 12 hours after Gaetti's departure, the Twins signed free agent Mike Pagliarulo from the New York Yankees as a new third baseman. Two more key free agent signings followed with designated hitter Chili Davis on January 30 and St. Paul native Jack Morris on February 5. The July 1989 blockbuster trade that sent 1988 AL Cy Young Award winner Frank Viola to the New York Mets in exchange for relief pitchers Rick Aguilera and David West and starter Kevin Tapani proved to be pivotal to the 1991 season. There were only seven players still on the roster from the 1987 World Championship team, none of them pitchers: Randy Bush, Greg Gagne, Dan Gladden, Kent Hrbek, Gene Larkin, Al Newman, and future Hall of Famer Kirby Puckett. Into this framework, young stars were blended successfully, including Scott Leius to platoon with Pagliarulo at third, Shane Mack in right field, Scott Erickson, a 20-game winner with a 12-game winning streak, and A.L. Rookie of the Year second baseman Chuck Knoblauch.

2,293,842 fans attended Twins games, the eighth highest total in the American League.

1992 California Angels season

The California Angels 1992 season involved the Angels finishing 5th in the American League West with a record of 72 wins and 90 losses.

1993 California Angels season

The California Angels 1993 season involved the Angels finishing 5th in the American League west with a record of 71 wins and 91 losses.

1993 Kansas City Royals season

The 1993 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League West with a record of 84 wins and 78 losses. This was George Brett's final season in the major leagues, as well as the team's final season in the AL West.

1994 Kansas City Royals season

The 1994 Kansas City Royals season was a season in American baseball. It involved the Royals finishing 3rd in the American League Central with a record of 64 wins and 51 losses. The season was cut short by the 1994 player's strike. The season marked the Royals' alignment into the new American League Central division.

1996 National League Championship Series

The 1996 National League Championship Series (NLCS) matched the East Division champion Atlanta Braves and the Central Division champion St. Louis Cardinals. It was the second NLCS meeting of the two teams and first since 1982. The Braves won in seven games, becoming the eighth team in baseball history to win a best-of-seven postseason series after being down 3–1, and first to overcome such a deficit in the NLCS. They outscored the Cardinals, 32–1, over the final three games. Also, Bobby Cox became the only manager to be on both the winning and losing end of such a comeback in postseason history, having previously blown the 1985 American League Championship Series with the Toronto Blue Jays against the Kansas City Royals.

The Braves would go on to lose to the New York Yankees in the World Series in six games.

List of Gold Glove Award winners at third base

The Rawlings Gold Glove Award, usually referred to as the Gold Glove, is the award given annually to the Major League Baseball players judged to have exhibited superior individual fielding performances at each fielding position in both the National League (NL) and the American League (AL), as voted by the managers and coaches in each league. Managers are not permitted to vote for their own players. Eighteen Gold Gloves are awarded each year (with the exception of 1957, 1985, 2007 and 2018), one at each of the nine positions in each league. In 1957, the baseball glove manufacturer Rawlings created the Gold Glove Award to commemorate the best fielding performance at each position. The award was created from a glove made from gold lamé-tanned leather and affixed to a walnut base. Initially, only one Gold Glove per position was awarded to the top fielder at each position in the entire league; however, separate awards were given for the National and American Leagues beginning in 1958.Brooks Robinson won 16 Gold Gloves with the Baltimore Orioles, leading both the American League and all third basemen in awards won. Mike Schmidt is second in wins at third base; he won 10 with the Philadelphia Phillies and leads National League third basemen in Gold Gloves. Scott Rolen has the third-highest total, winning eight awards with the Phillies, the St. Louis Cardinals, and the Cincinnati Reds. Six-time winners at third base are Buddy Bell, Nolan Arenado, Eric Chavez, and Robin Ventura. Ken Boyer, Doug Rader, and Ron Santo have each won five Gold Gloves at third base, and four-time winners include Adrián Beltré, Gary Gaetti, and Matt Williams. Hall of Famers who have won a Gold Glove at the position include Robinson, Schmidt, Santo, Wade Boggs, and George Brett.The fewest errors committed in a third baseman's winning season is five, achieved by Boggs in 1995 and Chavez in 2006. Two National League winners have made six errors in a season to lead that league: Mike Lowell in 2005, and Schmidt in 1986. Chavez' fielding percentage of .987 in 2006 leads all winners; Lowell leads the National League with his .983 mark. Robinson leads all winners with 410 assists in 1974, and made the most putouts in the American League (174 in 1966). The most putouts by a winner was 187, made by Santo in 1967. Schmidt leads the National League in assists, with 396 in 1977. The most double plays turned in a season was 44 by Robinson in 1974; he turned at least 40 double plays during three of his winning seasons. The National League leader is Nolan Arenado with 42 in 2015Ken Boyer and Clete Boyer are the only pair of brothers to have won Gold Glove Awards at third base. Older brother Ken won five Gold Gloves in six years with the Cardinals (1958–1961, 1963), and Clete won in 1969 with the Atlanta Braves.

Sugar Land Skeeters

The Sugar Land Skeeters are an American professional baseball team located in Sugar Land, Texas. The Skeeters play in the Freedom Division of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball (ALPB), which is an independent league not affiliated with Major League Baseball. They have played their home games at Constellation Field since the beginning of the 2012 season.

The Skeeters entered the Atlantic League as an expansion team in 2010. They are the first Atlantic League team to play outside of the Northeast; the team is also the first of a planned western division to include four to six other teams. The Skeeters are the first independent league baseball team in the Greater Houston metropolitan area since the Houston Buffaloes' final season in 1961, and they are also the first from the city of Sugar Land.

The team's name, "Skeeters", is a Southern slang word for mosquito, and was the result of a team-sponsored name-the-team contest. Part of the reason for the naming is that mosquitoes are very common in the summer nights in Southeast Texas.The Sugar Land Skeeters have played in three Atlantic League Championships. In 2014, they were swept 3–0 by the Lancaster Barnstormers in the best-of-five game series. They returned for the second time in 2016, where they won the ALPB title, 3–0, against the Long Island Ducks. Matched up against the Ducks again in 2018, the Skeeters won their second ALPB Championship in franchise history after a 4-1 win in a decisive Game 5.

Awards and achievements
Preceded by
Dennis Martínez
Oldest Player in the
National League

1999
Succeeded by
Jesse Orosco
Franchise
Ballparks
Culture and lore
Important figures
Key personnel
World Series
championships (3)
Pennants (6)
Division titles (10)
Wild Card titles (1)
Minor league affiliates

Languages

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