Eighty years later and 28 years ago today—on July 17, 1990—the Minnesota Twins provided their own less-rhythmic answer to Franklin Pierce Adams’ poem. On that day, facing the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park, Gaetti to Newman to Hrbek was the magical call on two triple plays. On both plays, third baseman Gary Gaetti fielded a hard-hit grounder at the bag, rifled a throw to second baseman Al Newman, who pivoted and completed the triple-killing with a throw to Kent Hrbek at first.
No team had executed two triple plays in a single game before--or since--but equally amazing was Gaetti’s prediction of the first one. In the fourth inning, with Wade Boggs on third, Jody Reed on second and Carlos Quintana on first, Gaetti told Boggs the Twins would be turning three.
“I said to him, ‘Wade, a 5-4-3 triple play is coming up right here,’” Gaetti said after the game. “Go ahead … ask the umpires … ask Wade. Wade even tipped his hat to me when he came out the next inning.” Boggs later confirmed Gaetti’s account.
The victim at the plate? Tom Brunansky, a critical, middle-of-the-order hitter for Minnesota’s 1987 World Series championship club. And remarkably, the Twins weren’t done yet.
In the eighth inning, Boston again threatened, with Tim Naering at second and Boggs at first. Naering and Boggs were running on the pitch when Reed hit a ball sharply right at the third-base bag, and Gaetti, Newman and Hrbek worked to perfection again with Reed out at first by several steps.
“I put the hit-and-run on so we wouldn’t hit into a double play. So we hit into a triple play,” lamented Boston skipper Joe Morgan. But Morgan’s Red Sox won the game, 1-0, a typical outcome for a Twins team that lost 88 games and finished dead last in the seven-team American League West in 1990 before going worst to first and winning another World Series in 1991.