1981: Gary Gaetti’s Career Starts with a Bang

Sunday September 20, 1981

September can either be a month in which a team drives for the pennant, or a time to play the September call ups to see what you have for the future. All to often in the 1970’s and early 80’s it was the latter for the Twins. In 1981, a young third baseman saw his first action.

The Twins had drafted Gary Gaetti with the 11th overall pick in the June 1979 secondary draft. He was signed a few days later. It wasn’t long before, at the age of 22, Gaetti was called up to the majors.

He made his debut in a late September game at Arlington Stadium. Penciled in a third base and batting seventh, Gaetti first came to the plate with a man on and two outs in the bottom of the second inning. Charlie Hough had retired the first five Twins he faced before issuing a two out walk to Dave Engle.

Earlier in the season, both Kent Hrbek and Tim Laudner had homered in the their first major league game. Gaetti did them one better by doing it in his first plate appearance.

Gaetti was retired in his next two plate appearances and the Twins lost the game, but it was the hope in the upper Midwest that the early power showed by some of the young players would translate into wins down the road. It would take some time, but the wins would start coming.

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