Gary Gaetti, who played for two and a half seasons with the Cardinals in the mid-’90s, was one of the top third basemen in baseball in the 1980s and part of the 1990s. A first-round pick in the 1979 amateur draft by the Minnesota Twins, he made his big league debut with the Twins late in the 1981 campaign, homering in his first at bat on September 20.
Gaetti became the Twins’ regular third baseman in 1982 and was a fixture at third for the club for nine seasons. In addition to averaging 22 homers a year during that time, he won four straight Gold Gloves from 1986 to 1989 and was an All-Star in 1988 and 1989. He played a major role when the club won the 1987 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, hitting three homers in the postseason and being named 1987 American League Championship Series MVP.
Gaetti set a record on July 17, 1990 by starting two triple plays in a game against the Boston Red Sox. It was the only time in major league history that a team had ever turned two triple plays in the same game.
Gaetti became a free agent in 1991 and played with the California Angels, Kansas City Royals and Boston Red Sox, having his finest year in nearly a decade, clubbing 35 homers in 1995 with the Royals, just one short of their franchise record and won the American League Silver Slugger Award for the first time in his career.
Prior to the 1996 season, Gaetti signed with the St. Louis Cardinals and played two and a half seasons with the club. In 1996, he hit 27 home runs and had 80 RBIs, following that up with 17 homers and 69 RBIs in ’97. He was picked up by the Chicago Cubs, mid- way through the 1998 season, becoming the only player to be a teammate of both Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa during their record-breaking home run campaigns.