Glancing back in the olden days, Gary Gaetti had added glorious days in baseball history.
Indeed, his gameplay from the 1980s falls under the 20 greatest home runs in Cubs history and the 100 greatest royals of All-Time.
To date, Gary is known for his fierce hitting as a third baseman, which is often described as a power oozing performance.
As he devoted almost two decades to the field, Gary featured in the Major League Baseball.
Additionally, he had played for teams like the Minnesota Twins, California Angels, St. Louis Cardinals, Kansas City Royals, Chicago Cubs, and Boston Red Sox.
During his journey as a player, Gary stood as the first player ever to hit home runs in his first two post-season plate appearances.
Table of Contents
|Full Name||Gary Joseph Gaetti|
|Date of Birth||August 19, 1958|
|Birth Place||Centralia, Illinois, USA|
|Age||63 years old|
|Height||6 feet (183 cm)|
|Weight||81 kg (180 lbs)|
|Hair Color||Brown (natural)|
|Father’s Name||Bill Gaetti|
|Mother’s Name||Jackie (Shahan)|
|Siblings||An elder sister, Cheryl Gaetti|
|Education||Centralia High School
Lincoln Land Community College
Lake Land College
Northwest Missouri State University.
|Spouse||Debby and Donna (former wives), Joni (current wife, married in 2014)|
|Kids||Two sons; Joe Gaetti and Jacob Gaetti
A daughter; Gigi Gaetti
|Profession||Former Baseball player|
Kansas City Royals
St. Louis Cardinals
Boston Red Sox
|Throws and Bats||Right|
|Net Worth||$1.6 million|
|Merch||Autographed Baseball Card, Signed Baseball|
|Last Update||July, 2022|
Gary Gaetti Day
“This is a huge honor, and coming back here and seeing the support from the community has been incredible. I’m just so happy to be doing this in my hometown and to see it all coming together.”
As a fun fact, the City of Centralia celebrates Major League Baseball’s opening day as Gary Gaetti Day. Well, it is to honor one of its biggest hometown sports heroes, Gary.
Initially, they planned out the day as a resolution at the City Council meeting.
Apparently, it is hosted by the Gaetti Sports Academy as Gaetti, and other former Major Leaguers join in the celebration.
Also, as the town people and mayors join the celebration, they include games and prizes for the specific event.
“Gary Gaetti is one of Centralia’s biggest heroes. We are proud to have designated Major League Baseball’s opening day as Gary Gaetti Day in Centralia.” – Mayor of Centralia, Herb Williams.
Gary Gaetti | Early Life, Family, and Education
Gaetti (fully named Gary Joseph Gaetti) was born on August 19, 1958, under Leo’s sun sign.
As a native of Centralia, Illinois, he was the second child of Jackie (Shahan) and Bill Gaetti.
Indeed, he has an elder sister named Cheryl Gaetti. Back then, his mother used to be a secretary and office manager, while his father was a blue-collar railroad man.
As Gary himself recalls his childhood, he states baseball and beer were the two major things. For him, baseball had taken its toll, and he would often play catch.
Right after his father was home, he would often play ball with his father. Likewise, every year the whole family would go on a trip to watch baseball games at Busch Stadium in St. Louis.
During that particular journey, Gary gathered an autograph from Lou Brock and a bat from Dick Schofield.
Similarly, Gary commenced early in the line and played it all along with his high school and onwards.
Just as thirteen years old, Gary had promised his ability through a home run that passed the tree 250 feet away.
As he devoted himself to the Centralia High School, Gary astonished everyone with his aggressiveness and charisma.
Despite his immense talent, his family stated him to be just as good as the minor leaguers.
However, after high school, Gary wasn’t highly recruited, and he thought he would join his dad in the railroad job. But Bill Gaetti enrolled him in the Lincoln Land Community College.
Herewith, Gary commenced playing baseball again. Eventually, he also played for Lake Land College in Mattoon, Illinois, and Northwest Missouri State University.
Gary Gaetti | Professional Career
As a matter of fact, Gary has been drafted for the baseball three times in total. At first, the St. Louis Cardinals drafted him in the fourth round of the January 1978 Major League Baseball draft.
Following it, the Chicago White Sox drafted him in the same year in the third round of the June secondary draft.
Lastly, the Minnesota Twins drafted him in the first round of the June secondary portion of the 1979 draft.
It was during his tenure after his transfer to the Missouri State University when the Twins drafted him.
Till then, he had declined both the offers from the Cardinals and the White Sox. To elaborate, Gary names the moment his biggest break in the games.
Later, he started in the professional arena but first with the Twins’ Rookie-level club in Elizabethton, Tennessee.
Right then, he spent three years of his career in that Appalachian League, A-level Wisconsin Rapids Twins in the Midwest League, and the AA-level Orlando Twins in the Southern League.
His minor performances earned him a spot in the major league, where he made his debut with a home run. Due to it, Gary stood fifth on the AL Rookie of the Year ballot.
Altogether, Gary played nine seasons with the Twins, during which he claimed the four consecutive Gold Glove Awards for fielding excellence.
In the meantime, he also led the Twins to their first World Series Championships while he stood as the Series MVP.
Additionally, he also claimed his first two career postseason plate appearances in the American League Championship Series.
Furthermore, he had his two more Gold Glove Awards and first two All-Star selection.
Right after it, the California Angels signed Gary with a four-year, $11.4 million contract. However, it was also the season when his gameplay started diminishing.
By the 1993 season, Gary was spending his time on the bench. This, before the end of his contract, the Angels released him earlier than the contract.
Kansas City Royals
After joining Kansas City Royals, Gary was back to his games, where he maintained a career-high 35 round-trippers.
Back then, he established himself as the AL’s top-hitting third-baseman.
St. Louis Cardinals
After two seasons with the Royals, Gary joined the Cardinals with one $2 million deal. During the same season in 1996, he posted many home runs for the team.
Gradually, he also earned his 2,000th career hit the following year. During his two and half years tenure, Gary revealed it was his childhood dream that came true.
Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox
When Gary signed his deal with the Cubs, it was his 40th birthday, and with the team, he spent a whole season.
Alongside the team, he claimed the National League wild card. Following it, he was with the Boston Red Sox and could only play five games for them.
However, after a season, Gary started getting slow with his games, and back then, the only word that hit him was retirement.
All in all, the team now used him as the emergency relief pitcher.
Summary Career Stats
Gary Gaetti | Retirement and Onwards
In 2000, after standing as an emergency relief pitcher, Gary retired from the games, widely known as the all-time home run king among players.
Apparently, his retirement came after a discussion with his wife. The Houston Astros’ Class-AAA team, the New Orleans Zephyrs, hired Gary as the hitting coach.
In simple words. He was still in the MLB even after his retirement. After about five years of service, he moved on to North Carolina coach for the Class-AAA Durham Bulls.
Then, he became the manager for the Atlantic League’s Sugar Land Skeeters from 2012 to 2017.
Gary Gaetti | Achievements
By the time Gary had ended his career, he had maintained an ERA of 7.71 and was inducted into the 2003 NWMSU athletic hall of fame, the “M-Club.”
Furthermore, he has 2,280 total bases in his career and stands 159 in Major League Baseball’s history. His MLB statistics include a.255 batting average, 360 home runs, and 1,341 runs in at-bats.
Altogether, he has played 2,507 games to date as he has 1,130 runs and 2,280 hits. Well, he has 634 walks, 1,602 strikeouts, and 96 stolen bases.
Some of his achievements to date are highlighted below.
- 2× All-Star (1988 and 1989)
- World Series champion (1987)
- ALCS MVP (1987)
- 4× Gold Glove Award (1986–1989)
- Silver Slugger Award (1995)
- Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame
- Top 25 American League Most Valuable Player (four times)
- 1982 – Fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting
Gary Gaetti | Injury
Like every player on the field, injuries ate uncertain for everyone. Similarly, Gary has also been struggling mainly with his knee and leg injuries throughout his career.
Back in August 1988, Gary tore his knee cartilage while stealing a base. Therewith, Dr. J.R. Steadman performed arthroscopic surgery on him in Lake Tahoe, Calif.
As he missed the season, outfielder Eric Bullock took his place in the games.
The following year, Gary again fell into a 15-day disabled list due to his nagging injuries regarding his abdomen, back, and knee.
Before his retirement, Gary also struggled for the time being with a toe injury.
Gary Gaetti | Net Worth, Salary, and Career Earnings
At present, Gary Gaetti reportedly has a net worth of $10.5 million.
Since MLB likes keeping their payment information private, we have very limited information on his career earnings. However, he is said to have earned around $21.5 million throughout his MLB career.
Besides that, he made $3 million each year from 1991 to 1993. Likewise, the former baseballer earned $2 million each year from 1996 to 1999 except for 1998, when he made $1.6 million.
Gary Gaetti | Personal Life
For those unknown, Gaetti is a devout Christian. Indeed, back in the days, he would chug beers, smoke like a chimney, curse like a sailor, and celebrate victories alongside teammates with shots of whiskey.
It was as if a new Gary was born from the Bible. In the meantime, he had also bought his Bible to take vows for not starting his old habits.
However, ever since his disabled list and injuries, Gary has been a devoted Christian. Well, during the time he would spend at parties, he started reading the virtues of the Bible.
At the 1989 MLB All-Star Game, Gary stood out in the TV appearance, where he showcased his glove that, “Jesus is Lord.”
According to him, it is also just faith that has bought him to be what he is today. Indeed, he has totally offered himself to Jesus.
Even his closest friend, Minnesota first baseman Kent Hrbek, couldn’t keep track of his new beliefs with Gary’s changing personality.
“I wasn’t a vicious person or malicious. I wasn’t a drug smuggler. But there’s really no degree of sin. Sin is sin. You break man’s law; you go to jail. And, you break God’s law, you go to hell.” – Gary Gaetti.
Wife and Kids
At first, Gary was married to his minor league days’ sweetheart, Debby, who spent ten years of their life together.
However, things came to an end after the 1994 season when they divorced and moved separate ways. Together, they had two children; Joseph (Joe) and Jacob.
Also, as per Gary, their separation occurred due to their lifestyle change. Afterward, he married his second wife, Donna, and together, they had a daughter named Gigi Gaetti.
Unfortunately, things also didn’t work out between the two, and therefore, he again married Joni in 2014.
Among the children, Joe Gaetti followed in his father’s footsteps to play collegiate baseball for North Carolina State. Sadly, he couldn’t move further with it as his career.
Well, Joe only played till the AAA level in the minor leagues. His career came to an end in 2010 with the Lancaster Barnstormers of the Atlantic League.
Social Media Presence:
Well, Gary Gaetti is not an avid user of social media platforms. However, if your wish to check and follow his uploads, you can check out his Instagram page. He is on Instagram as Gary Gaetti (@garygaetti), with 4231 followers.
Did Gary Gaetti hit a grand slam?
Yes, Gary Gaetti hits a grand slam off Greg Maddux on October 10, 1996, at Fulton County Stadium to lead the St. Louis Cardinals to an 8-3 win over the Atlanta Braves and a tie in the NLCS.
Did the Minnesota Twins trade Gary Gaetti to the California Angels?
No, the baseballer left the Twins as a free agent to join the Angels in 1991.
What is the jersey number of Gary Gaetti?
Gary Gaetti was featured in jersey number eight for the professional baseball team Minnesota Twins.
Is Gary Gaetti a Minnesota Twins Hall of Famer?
Yes, Gary Gaetti was inducted into the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame on August 19,2007