It started in 1987 when I opened my first pack of baseball cards. In those days you could get 15 cards to a pack and, more often than not, you would find a Ranger. My brother got a Bobby Valentine 'manager' card. I got two Gary Gaettis.
I couldn't pronounce his name correctly. But he had hairy arms and looked like a rat. My dad said they called him 'The G-Man.'
When I think of the '87 Twins, I think of Kirby, Bert, Frank 'Violin', and Kent Hrbek. I don't think of The G-Man..
We were season ticket holders back then. Our seats were on the third-base side, four rows behind the visitor's dugout. When the Twins came to town the next year, they were World Champions. My father bought me a baseball at the gift shop the day they came to town and told me to wait by the dugout so that the players would sign it. I waited patiently for Kirby to come and sign, but he never did. I instead settled for Al Newman and Gary Gaetti. >:(
A couple of years later, my father and I were in the garage listening to a meaningless game between the Twins and Rangers on the radio. My father had spent a great deal of time trying to convince me that even though Charlie Hough couldn't throw as fast as Nolan, he was still a good pitcher. Ten minutes into the first inning, Gaetti hit a grand-slam off of Charlie Hough, cementing my belief that as hard as it was to grip a knuckleball, it sure as hell didn't do you any favors throwing it.
A year or so later, Gaetti played for the Angels.
A few years after that he played for the Royals. The Royals were the last team to play at old Arlington Stadium. We were there for the whole weekend.
Darren Oliver was my new favorite pitcher for the Rangers because he and I shared the same name.
Do you think Gary Gaetti gave a shit? He just parked one halfway up the bleachers in left in a game we were already getting assraped. As Gaetti strutted back to the dugout, I told him to go suck an egg. My mother slapped me.
The next day was the last game of the season. It was a farewell to the stadium and to George Brett who was calling it quits. Manny Lee opted to salute the latter by dressing up as a matador in the ninth and letting Brett's last big-league hit graze past him.
"Makes no sense for George to get on and not come in"... thought Tom Henke (this is probably what Tom Henke was really thinking).
'The G-Man' stepped in two batters later, and promptly made meat of a Henkeing fastball, putting the game out of reach and the Rangers' season out of its misery.
Gary Gaetti went on to further playoff folklore with the Cards and Cubs I think. But I don't really care. Last I heard he was in the Tampa Bay farm system posing as a coach, but he's probably there to leech off the success of their prospects.