Twins Acquire Gladden, Release Hatcher

With less than a week remaining in spring training, the Twins released fan-favorite Mickey Hatcher and acquired the much more dynamic Dan Gladden from San Francisco in exchange for two prospects and a player to be named later.

That player to be named later turned out to be 1982 Bemidji graduate and Golden Gophers all-time great Bryan Hickerson. Fun Fact: Hickerson was the recipient of the first two Dave Winfield Pitcher of the Year Awards in Gophers history.

Hatcher was still owed $650,000 for 1987, and had a $100,000 buyout clause for 1988. It was the most expensive contract the Twins had eaten to date, but it proved to be a prudent business decision, as Gladden was a key contributor to the only two World Series Championships in Twins history.

A major appeal of Gladden was his game-changing speed. A newspaper headline the morning after the trade read “Popularity Sacrificed for Steals,” a motivation confirmed by Twins executive vice president Andy MacPhail, who said that “the reason we got him is he gives us speed. He can steal bases. He’s a good turf player.”

Hatcher, who had been with the Twins since 1981, and peaked in ‘84, was a pretty one-dimensional player. “He just didn’t fit in,” Tom Kelly said; “there’s no place for him to play on this team. We have better athletes. We didn’t need him as a designated hitter or a pinch hitter, either.”

Hatcher signed with the Dodgers with whom he won a World Series ring in 1988, hitting .368 with two home runs in the four-games-to-one victory over the Oakland A’s.

The Gladden trade was the third significant move of the 1987 offseason. In February, the Twins acquired Jeff Reardon and Al Newman in separate trades with Montreal. They later traded for Joe Niekro on June 6, Dan Schatzeder on June 23, Steve Carlton on July 31, and Don Baylor on September 1.

In contrast, the Twins made zero trades during the 1991 season.



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