Gary Gaetti was a huge part of the Minnesota Twins’ success during the late 1980′s and into the 1990′s. Although he played for 6 teams during his 19-year career, it was in Minnesota where he earned his reputation as a solid major league player.
Gaetti’s debut led off with a smash - literally. In his first at bat in the big leagues, Gaetti homered. And in the 10 seasons that followed, all with the Twins, Gaetti smacked 16 or more home runs during 8 of those seasons. A lifetime .255 hitter, Gaetti made a career for himself as a power hitter that was able to drive in tons of runs. With 360 career home runs and 1,341 RBI to his credit it’s easy to see why ‘The Rat’ was the anchor for many of the offensive lineups he was a part of.
Gaetti was also a stellar defensive player. A 4-time Gold Glove winner at 3rd base, Gaetti’s desire to stop everything hit in his direction made him a fan favorite. Always willing to put his body on the line to stop a ball from getting by him was an attribute that Gaetti used as one of the Twins’ leaders.
During the 1987 playoffs against the Tigers, Gaetti won the ALDS MVP award as he homered in his first 2 at-bats. At the time, he was the only player to do this in the history of the game until matched by Evan Longoria in 2008. Gaetti’s lone World Series appearance came in that same 1987 season when the Twins won the championship in 7 games. In that series Gaetti hit .259 while collecting 7 hits, including 1 home run, and 4 RBI.
After retiring for the game, Gaetti put his offensive tools to work and became a hitting instructor. Today he serves as the hitting coach for the Durham Bulls, a minor league affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays.
I wonder why they call Gaetti ‘The Rat’…