Gaetti’s gone: Skeeters manager steps down after six seasons

Gary Gaetti has stepped down as the manager of the Sugar Land Skeeters. In his six years in Sugar Land as the only manager in the team’s history, he has led the Skeeters to a 450-391 regular season record and in 2016 won the Atlantic League championship. (Photo by Joe Southern)

The Sugar Land Skeeters announced last week that Gary Gaetti is stepping down as manager with the expiration of his contract.

Gaetti, the only manager in franchise history, was hired as the club’s inaugural skipper in 2011 and managed the club for six seasons (2012-2016).

“Gary has been an integral part of the Skeeters organization and played a big role in starting the franchise,” said Jay Miller, Skeeters President. “His knowledge and success in the game was so valuable to the organization in building a new franchise on the field and in the community. Under Gary’s leadership, we played championship baseball highlighted by winning the Atlantic League championship last season. We couldn’t have been more pleased with the results and we wish Gary all the best and we will always consider him part of the Skeeters family.”

In his six years as manager, Gaetti compiled a 450-391 (.535) regular season record. The 2013 campaign was a record-breaking year compiling a 95-45 overall record, and he was named the Atlantic League Manager of the Year in just his second season.

“Today is a very bittersweet day for me and my family. As I look back at all the special moments and the memories of the past accomplishments of our organization, starting from the ground up, my heart swells with pride in how we turned this new baseball thing in

Sugar Land into a very successful venture that has become a community event that brings friends, families and businesses together to enjoy the greatest game ever invented,” Gaetti said.

Gaetti and the Skeeters captured their first Atlantic League Championship title in 2016, sweeping the York Revolution in the Freedom Division Series and then winning three straight games over the Long Island Ducks in the Atlantic League Championship Series.

The Skeeters became the first team to go 6-0 in the playoffs and ended the 2016 campaign with 10 straight wins. Under his leadership, the team reached the league playoffs in three of six seasons, including two Championship Series appearances (2014, 2016).

A veteran of 20 Major League seasons as a player with the Minnesota Twins, California Angels, Kansas City Royals, St. Louis Cardinals, Chicago Cubs and Boston Red Sox, the Illinois native was a two-time All-Star, four-time Gold Glove Award Winner, 1995 Silver Slugger Award winner and the 1987 ALCS MVP with the Twins and would go on to help them win the 1987 World Series.

Gaetti posted a .255 career batting average in 2,507 games with 2,280 hits, 360 home runs and 1,341 RBIs in 20 Major League seasons. After his playing career, Gaetti began coaching in 2002 as a member of the Minor League’s New Orleans Zephyrs’ Triple-A staff. In 2004, he was appointed hitting coach for the Houston Astros where he helped the club to an NLCS championship in 2005 and their first ever World Series appearance. Gaetti held the same position with Tampa Bay’s AAA affiliate, the Durham Bulls, during the 2007-2008 (managed the last few weeks) seasons before being named the first manager of the Sugar Land Skeeters in 2011.

Gaetti was recently inducted into the St. Louis Sports Hall of Fame on Feb. 2, and in 2007 was named to the Minnesota Twins Hall of Fame.

“When I look at it like that I surely will miss the enjoyment and excitement. However, there is a time and season for everything under the sun and my time has come to see new things God has planned for me and my family,” Gaetti said. “I want to express my heartfelt gratitude to the Skeeters front office and staff for all the support they have given me and all the hard work and sacrifices they have made to make a baseball season successful. It takes everyone from top to bottom.

“I will truly miss all the relationships that have been a result of working together these last six years with the staff, the players, the faithful season ticket holders and especially our wonderful and generous host families. You all are such special people and I hope that we will continue to be friends in the future and beyond.

“I am so proud to say that I live in Sugar Land, Texas, and what you and I know is one of the finest places in the entire world because of some of the finest and most wholesome people who walk the face of the earth. Thank you for making me and my family feel so welcome and so special every day in all ways,” he said.

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