"He won't call me," Longoria said with a laugh. "I'll probably have to call him."
While he shares that rare company with Gaetti, Longoria provided a show that was unprecedented for a rookie. This was the 22-year-old third baseman's first trip to the playoffs, whereas Gaetti was in his seventh season with the Twins when he accomplished the same feat against the Tigers in Game 1 of the 1987 AL Championship Series.
That made Longoria's showing unique.
"It was a little different day for a rookie player," Longoria said.
Longoria began his assault in the second inning, when he drilled the first pitch he received from White Sox starter Javier Vazquez into the left-center-field seats for a solo blast that put the Rays ahead, 1-0. That marked the first postseason run in Tampa Bay's history and made Longoria the 30th player to go yard in his first career playoff at-bat.
In third, Longoria violently pulled an 0-1 offering from Vazquez for another solo shot, handing Tampa Bay a 4-3 lead in the process. Longoria lifted the pitch high above left field, where the baseball hit the "C" catwalk -- an estimated 125 feet above the field. After rounding third base, Longoria clapped his hands hard and let out a yell before crossing home plate.
Later in the game, Tampa Bay's Eric Hinske let Longoria in on the fact that the rook had done something only one other player had done before.
|The most recent 12 players who have hit a homer in their first playoff game|
|2008||Evan Longoria||Rays||Javier Vazquez||White Sox|
|2008||Jason Bay||Red Sox||John Lackey||Angels|
|2007||Asdrubal Cabrera||Indians||Chien-Ming Wang||Yankees|
|2007||Victor Martinez||Indians||Chien-Ming Wang||Yankees|
|2007||Travis Hafner||Indians||Ross Ohlendorf||Yankees|
|2007||Ryan Garko||Indians||Phil Hughes||Yankees|
|2007||Stephen Drew||D-backs||Carlos Zambrano||Cubs|
|2007||Mark Reynolds||D-backs||Carlos Marmol||Cubs|
|2007||Pat Burrell||Phillies||Jeff Francis||Rockies|
|2007||Matt Holliday||Rockies||Tom Gordon||Phillies|
|2006||Craig Monroe||Tigers||Chien-Ming Wang||Yankees|
|2006||Curtis Granderson||Tigers||Mike Myers||Yankees|
|2006||Carlos Delgado||Mets||Derek Lowe||Dodgers|
|Courtesy of David Vincent of SABR|
"'Ske told me I was only the second person," Longoria said with a smile. "And somebody chimed in and said Gaetti was the other one. It was pretty funny."
Reached by phone near his home in Louisiana, Gaetti was proud to be linked to Longoria.
"It's kind of special that it's somebody that I know," Gaetti said. "I wish he would have gone deep for a third time. But I'm really proud of him and happy for the Rays. He's actually the best all-around young player that I've coached in the Minor Leagues."
Truth be told, Longoria only spent 38 games under Gaetti's watch at Triple-A over the past two seasons. After being selected by the Rays in the first round of the 2006 First-Year Player Draft, it's been a rapid ascent to the big leagues for the talented third baseman.
This season for Tampa Bay, Longoria led AL rookies with 27 homers and a .531 slugging percentage, despite missing 30 games with a fractured right wrist. Longoria is a leading candidate for the league's Rookie of the Year honor after hitting .272 with 85 RBIs in 122 games for the Rays.
When it was all said and done against Chicago, Longoria went 3-for-3 with three RBIs, adding a walk and a stolen base along the way. Thursday's outburst was simply another addition to what's been a storybook season for Longoria.
"Today was an awesome day," he said.