After getting intrigued by two cards in the 1992 Topps set that were similar, I came across an even more similar comparison. In fact, I think I found two cards that brought out the baseball card detective in me again. I’ve blown these up as big as they go to show some of the detail.
That’s Gary Gaetti after his Minnesota days. In 1992 he was playing for the Angels, and here he’s sliding into home with Junior Ortiz awaiting. But I found another card…
…that is clearly the same play! Notice the guy in the blue plaid shirt above the dugout. And you can tell that’s Gaetti by the number 3 in the background. This is taken just a little earlier than the vantage from the card above.
I decided to do some work to see if I could determine the dates and details of the games. The Indians are wearing home white, so it’s a game where California visited Municipal Stadium in Cleveland. In 1992, Ortiz was a backup catcher for the Tribe, splitting time with Sandy Alomar, Jr. So he didn’t play all that much – he had around 250 plate appearances in 1992. From the game log in 1992 for Ortiz, he played every game in the 4-game series at Cleveland from April 30 – May 3. Gaetti did not play in the April 30th game, but did play in the other 3. So I’ve narrowed it down to those 3 games.
All I had to do was find an outfield assist or (maybe) a game where Gaetti scored. It looked pretty clear that he was out at home from this picture, though. Looking at the box scores, this play at the plate occurred on May 2nd – in the 4th inning to be exact. Gaetti singled with one out to knock in Junior Felix and give the Angels a 2-1 lead. He went to second on the throw home. The next batter, Mike Fitzgerald singled to center on the next play, and Kenny Lofton gunned Gaetti out at home. The play was key to the game – the Indians came back to win the contest, 3-2.
There’s another card that seems to be taken from the same vantage point, and – there we go! – that guy with the plaid shirt makes another appearance. Sot that makes it pretty clear that it’s the same game. There’s Ortiz featured in another play at the plate. This time, it’s Junior Felix featured in a play at the plate. Checking the box score again, this is actually the run Gaetti knocked in. He singled Felix in from second, and when the throw was late, Gaetti went to second on the throw.
My detective work is done for the day!