This is a great example of the type of autograph cards that I referred to in my 'State of The Collection' post. Gary Gaetti isn't a particular player that I collect, nor am I a huge Minnesota Twins fan. I do LOVE the 1987 Topps set but I think it's a safe bet that I would have scooped up this card for a couple bucks regardless of the design.
Gaetti was one of those good, solid players that I can remember being aware of as a kid. He was pretty well known after his heroics with the Twins during the '87 post season, or at least known enough by me to be a player that I would set aside when rifling through freshly ripped packs. Gary Gaetti didn't elicit the traditional "YESSSSS!" that accompanied each Mattingly or McGwire that I discovered, but he was certainly treated with care and saved for potential trades with my friends.
"Well, I DO have this Gary Gaetti card..."
A quick review of Gaetti on the interwebs reveals some cool facts:
Nickname(s): "G-Man", "Rat" and "Zorn"
Feat: 1st player to hit two home runs in his first two post season at-bats
Signed w/ Twins: Two months after I was born
The '2 homers in first 2 ABs' record was tied by Evan Longoria in 2008. ZORN retired as the Home Run King of players who had homered in their first career at-bat. I wonder who holds that title now? Baseball historian/writer/statistician Bill James has cited RAT for two particularly unusual trends over his 19 year career: that his walk-rate never improved and that his rate of productivity decline was exceptionally low. Huh.
At any rate, this card is pretty sweet! As I mentioned, I love the '87 design. The vintage Twins logo looks great along with those wood-grain borders and the (Archives?) foil stamp in the upper right doesn't detract from the card as a whole. This card is in great shape with good centering, terrific edges and sharp corners. The best part in my opinion? Zorn's signature is beautifully slanted, legible and bold.
I really want to dig out Rat's actual '87 card to compare any differences. I believe Topps has used a different image for this Archive version, but I'm just shooting from the hip with that claim. Here's the back:
His son Joseph would grow up to make a solid run at following in his Dad's footsteps but fell short of making it to the Show. No word on Jacob...notice the denotation of being tied for league leader with his 162 games played in 1984. I wonder how many players he's tied with?
Thanks for reading!