Saturday, January 1, 2011

Meeting Gary Gaetti

Gary Gaetti is my favorite Minnesota Twin of all-time. Gary was a 2 time All-Star, 4 time Gold Glove winner who was also the MVP of American League Championship series. He was the heart and soul of the 1987 Twins’ World Championship team.

Gary is one of only 3 Twins (Harmon Killebrew and Justin Morneau are the others) who have hit 30 home runs and drove in 100 rbi’s in back to back seasons (Gary did it in 87 & 88).

Gary is the only Twin ever to hit a home run in his first regular season at bat and his first post season at bat.

I meet Gary Gaetti for the first time in person in 1983 at a baseball card show. He signed a Minnesota Twins schedule that day for young teenager (me) who was in awe of actually seeing a real baseball player up close and in person.

When I started collecting autographed baseball cards through the mail, Gary Gaetti was the first player I sent to. 9 days after I sent to him, Gary sent a signed card back to me signed in red sharpie. Yes, red sharpie. No other player has ever signed a card in red for me, so it is a card that stands out in my collection.

I have sent more cards, a photo, and baseball, and he has almost always signed for me and signed for free. In fact, when my first signed photo was damaged, I wrote him again and he immediately signed another photo for me, even personalized it.

My most treasured signed baseball card is an 88 Topps card which Gary signed in blue sharpie “Gary Gaetti 87 ALCS MVP”.

27 years after first meeting him, I had the chance to meet Gary Gaetti again. He was signing autographs at a card show not far from my house.

I have met a Hall of Famers Harmon Killebrew, Paul Molitor, and Rod Carew. I have met current superstars like Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, and Johan Santana. I have never been nervous in their presence. I was nervous meeting Gary Gaetti.

He was very gracious in listening to me tell him who I was and how much I loved to watch him play. He signed a baseball bat “Gary Gaetti 87 ALCS MVP” for me. I don’t know if I will ever me Gary Gaetti again in person, but I will always remember my 2 meeting with him fondly.

Thanks Gary for signing my stuff and for being a good guy!

(Below is a picture of my signed bat. I took the picture with my cell phone camera, so the quality of the picture isn't the greatest, but the signed bat itself looks great.)