The Minnesota Twins are just 31 days away from Opening Day in Baltimore. As we near that day, here is more Twins history related to that number.
The Minnesota Twins are preparing for a 2018 season with expectation after making the playoffs in 2017 as a Wild Card team. We will highlight numbers from team history that represent the number of days until Opening Day on March 29th in Baltimore.
As we continue the countdown and reach the number 31 we turn our attention to the man who started the 5-3 put out to clinch the 1987 World Series championship that has been replayed and enjoyed many times. It was even recreated several years ago as the 1987 World Series team was being celebrated at Target Field. That man is third baseman, Gary Gaetti.
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Gaetti was selected by the Twins in the first round of the 1979 MLB June Draft-Secondary Phase. He would debut with the Twins in 1981 and by 1982 had entrenched himself as the Twins regular third baseman. 1986 stands as one of Gaetti’s best individual seasons where he slashed .287/.347/.518 and hit 34 home runs. Home runs are exactly what we are looking at today, but not the 34 he hit in 1986 or the 35 in 1995, two of his best home run totals. Instead, we are looking at the 31 home runs that Gaetti hit in 1987.
In 1987, Gaetti slashed .257/.303/.485 and added those 31 home runs and 36 doubles to his stat line. Gaetti also won his second Gold Glove award and was part of a core group of Twins players who helped the Twins bust back into the playoffs.
Through the playoffs, Gaetti added three more home runs. In the ALCS he hit two of those postseason home runs and slashed .300/.348/.650 on his way to becoming the MVP of the series as the Twins defeated the Detroit Tigers. What is unique about Gaetti’s two home runs is they came in his first two postseason at-bats in Game 1 of that ALCS series off of Tigers starter Doyle Alexander.
By way of home run, Gaetti was also able to get the Twins off to a good start in game 2 of the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. Gaetti homered off of Danny Cox in the 2nd inning to give the Twins a 1-0 lead early in the game. The Twins would go on to beat the Cardinals 8-4 in that game.
Today, Gaetti has an honored place in the Twins Hall of Fame. A place he took on August 19, 2007, his 49th birthday. Also today, he is our honored guest as the man who hit 31 home runs in 1987. Thank-you for the years, Gary Gaetti!