The Houston suburb of Sugar Land, which will have a new stadium (Star Tex Power Field) when it begins play in the Atlantic League next season, has landed longtime major league third baseman Gary Gaetti as field manager.
"I had no idea what it (Independent Baseball) was about--none," The Houston Chronicle quoted Gaetti, after the press conference introducing him. "I hadn't really heard a lot of good things about it, but that's just ignorance is what it was."
Gaetti admitted getting a different outlook after his son Joe played for the Atlantic League's Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers last season. The elder Gaetti called the quality of play comparable to what he saw while a coach for Triple-A Durham, NC in 2007-08. "I was shocked at the quality of the stadium, and I was shocked at the attendance. I've been at a lot of minor league stadiums, and it wasn't as nice or upbeat or positive," the Skeeters' new manager told The Chronicle.
Gaetti, 52, ranks 50th in major league history with 2,507 games played, and is one of six third basemen to collect at least 350 home runs, 1,300 RBI and 2,200 hits. He helped Minnesota to its first World Series title in 1987, and was hitting coach for the Houston Astros for their trip to the World Series in 2005.
A RARE HOMER
Norris Hopper had played in 1,353 professional games and hit a grand total of four home runs. That was until this week when Hopper had one of those memorable games, a three-run homer and a run-scoring bunt single to give Somerset, NJ a 4-3 Atlantic League victory at Lancaster.
Hopper's most recent home run had been struck on September 22, 2006 for the Cincinnati Reds.
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