|Age: 56 (born October 24, 1957)|
|Position: SS (also 2B, 3B)|
|Bats: Right Throws: Right|
|Acquired: Amateur draft|
Gardenhire made his major league debut on September 1, 1981 at second base against the Astros at Houston. He got his first major league hit with a single off Cardinals' reliever Bruce Sutter at St. Louis on September 11. Ron scored his first major league run in the Mets' 3-1 win over the Pirates at Pittsburgh on September 8. He had two singles, a double, a stolen base and his first run batted in at Philadelphia on September 28. Gardenhire also hit a run-scoring single in a 2-1 Mets win over the Expos at Shea Stadium on October 4.
In 1982, Gardenhire hit .240 and drove in 33 runs in 117 games played. He had a pair of RBIs with a double and a sacrifice fly in a 5-4 Mets win over the Cubs at Chicago on April 11. Ron singled twice and drove in three runs in the Mets' 8-1 win over the Phillies at Shea on April 14. In a 15-inning, 5-4 Mets victory at San Diego on April 28, he had three singles and a run scored. Gardenhire hit his first career home run at Montreal on June 29. It was a two-run blast off Ray Burris that served as the game-winner in a 5-4 Mets victory. Ron singled twice, stole a base and drove in a run in the Mets' 5-4 win over the Cubs in a doubleheader opener at Shea on August 15. Against the Expos at Shea on September 21, he hit a homer in the 10th inning to give the Mets a 2-1 victory. Gardenhire singled three times and scored a run in a 6-4 Mets triumph over the Phillies at Shea on September 26. In the season-closing game at Philadelphia on October 3, he homered off Steve Carlton for the Mets' only run of a 4-1 loss to the Phils.
After playing most of the 1983 season in the minor leagues, Gardenhire was a Met for all of 1984. He batted .246 in 74 games for the year while spending a total of 43 days on the disabled list. Ron had a single and a stolen base and scored the winning run in the Mets' 4-2 victory over the Braves in Atlanta on April 10. He hit his only home run of the season off Philadelphia's Al Holland in a 6-4 Mets loss to the Phils on June 19 at Shea. The following night, Gardenhire singled, hit his only triple of the year and scored a run in the Mets' 7-4 win over the Phils. He had a two-run single in a 10-5 Mets win over the Phillies on June 25 at Philadelphia. Ron singled four times and drove in a run in the Mets' 2-1 and 3-2 wins over the Braves in a doubleheader at Shea on July 1. Also in '84, he had a seven-game stretch in which he hit .435 (10-for-23) from July 1 to July 6. The Mets won 6 of these 7 games.
Gardenhire continued to be plagued by injuries in 1985. He had two more stints on the disabled list and spent much time in the minor leagues while working his way back to health. Ron played in only 26 games for the Mets during the year. At Chicago on August 4, he doubled and scored in the Mets' 4-1 win over the Cubs. In the season's final game at Shea on October 6, Gardenhire tripled off the Expos' Dan Schatzeder in his last major league game as a player.
In 1986, Gardenhire played one more season in the minor leagues. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins the following November 12 for minor league pitcher Donnie Iasparro. Ron became a minor league manager in the Minnesota organization and was on the team's coaching staff for its 1991 World Championship.
Gardenhire found success as the Twins' manager with 6 American League Central Division titles (and a first-place tie in which they lost a playoff) from 2002 to 2010. He finished as runner-up in the voting for AL Manager of the Year five times (a record he shares with Tony La Russa) in eight years. In 2010, Ron was named Manager of the Year.