Minnesota Twins 1987 World Series Anniversary Profile: Dan Gladden

1990: Dan Gladden of the Minnesota Twins looks on from the dugout during a game in the 1990 season. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
1990: Dan Gladden of the Minnesota Twins looks on from the dugout during a game in the 1990 season. (Photo by: Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images) /

With the celebration of the Minnesota Twins’ 1987 World Championship this weekend, it’s high time to profile the players!

This weekend, the Minnesota Twins will be honoring the 1987 World Series championship team. As we get ready for that weekend, we at Puckett’s Pond want to highlight some of the best players and moments from that season.

There were not many more colorful players on the 1987 Minnesota Twins team than their long-haired left fielder, affectionately nicknamed “The Dazzle Man”.


Dan Gladden was not drafted coming out of college at Cal State-Fresno and signed as an undrafted free agent with the San Francisco Giants in 1979. He reached the majors in 1983. In 1984, Gladden only played 86 games, but he turned a lot of heads by hitting .351/.410/.447 with 31 stolen bases, finishing fourth in the Rookie of the Year voting.

Gladden struggled to repeat that early success over the next two seasons with the Giants, and with his roster spot in question in spring training 1987, he was traded to the Twins at the very end of spring training for three minor leaguers that really never ended up doing much for the Twins.

1987 Performances

For a guy who didn’t open the season with the Twins, Gladden platooned in left field with Randy Bush until early May, when he took over the job all on his own, primarily due to how well he was hitting, after hitting .300 in April.

Gladden finished with a flurry of hits in June to finish his first half hitting .283/.337/.405 with 14 stolen bases and 22 extra base hits. However, he fell off strong in the second half, finishing .195/.273/.290 in the second half with just 9 extra bases in the second half and 11 stolen bases.

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Though he finished the regular season rough, Gladden earned his place in Twins fans’ hearts with a tremendous performance in the playoffs in 1987. He had an argument for MVP of the American League Championship Series against Detroit, going .350/.458/.450 in the 5 games with 5 runs scored.

In the World Series, Gladden brought out the big bat, hitting .290/.353/.516 with a pair of doubles, a triple, and a home run, even stealing two bases as the Twins beat the Cardinals. Gladden ended up driving in the final run of the World Series with a double in the 8th inning of game 7 to make the score 4-2 in favor of the Twins.


Gladden played through the 1991 season with the Twins as a primary starter in left field. He cemented his place in Twins lore by scoring the game-winning run in game 7 of the 1991 World Series to give the Twins the 1-0 victory over the Atlanta Braves.

After 1991, Gladden went to the Detroit Tigers as a free agent for two seasons, then headed over to Japan to play 1994 with the Yomiuri Giants, winning a Japan Series championship, making him a rare player who had won a championship on two continents.

Gladden became a Twins scout in 1995 and moved on to scout with the Rockies from 1996-1998, and then moved on to a roving instructor with the Giants in 1999.

Next: 1987 Twins Profile: Tom Kelly

Gladden moved into the broadcast booth with the Twins radio broadcast in 2000. He initially worked part time alongside legendary broadcaster Herb Carneal, but he took over full time as the color man on the radio after Carneal’s death in 2007.

An interesting tid bit on Gladden: his daughter married the son of former teammate Gary Gaetti! (per Wikipedia)

Excited for the anniversary weekend?! Who should we profile next? Let us know in the comments!