Pettis with the Houston Astros
|Houston Astros – No. 8|
|Center fielder / Third base coach|
April 3, 1958 |
|September 13, 1982, for the California Angels|
|Last MLB appearance|
|September 10, 1992, for the Detroit Tigers|
|Runs batted in||259|
|Career highlights and awards|
Gary George Pettis (born April 3, 1958) is an American former professional baseball center fielder and current coach. He is the third base coach with the Houston Astros. Prior to coaching, he played in Major League Baseball for eleven seasons, and won the Gold Glove Award five times.
Pettis was selected in the 6th round of the 1979 draft by the Angels, and played minor league baseball for the Salinas Spurs of the class "A" California League in 1980, then the Holyoke Millers of the double "A" Eastern League in 1981. In 1982, Pettis was promoted to the California Angels, where he played the first six seasons of his career.
After the 1987 season, Pettis went on to play two seasons with the Detroit Tigers, 1988 through the following season of 1989. After two years with Detroit, Pettis joined the Texas Rangers for two seasons 1990-91. Pettis finished his career in the major leagues in 1992. The 1992 season saw Pettis play for two different teams. After leaving the Texas Rangers, Pettis joined the San Diego Padres for the 1992 season but ended that season back in Detroit with the Tigers.
During his career, Pettis consistently hit for low averages and was known for striking out often, but he performed extremely well on defense, earning five Gold Glove Awards. He was noted for making many spectacular leaping or diving catches, depriving hitters of home runs or base hits, and was known in baseball circles as "The man who made center field look easy". Additionally, he was a prolific base runner and had five seasons where he stole over 40 bases. Pettis held the Angels' club record for stolen bases for nearly 20 years, until it was broken by Chone Figgins on July 15, 2007. Pettis was tagged as "Pac Man" Pettis by a local radio station listener call-in contest in 1986, referring to his unusual speed in the outfield and ability to chase down opponents' hits.
His nephew, Austin Pettis, is a former wide receiver for the St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers, and is now a free agent. Pettis has four children, Paige, Kyler, Shaye, and Dante. Dante plays wide receiver for the University of Washington football team and is the Pac-12 conference record holder for most career punt return touchdowns. Kyler stars on the NBC daytime drama Days of Our Lives.