MA Baseball Fans Take Time To Remember a NY Mets Legend
Massachusetts baseball fans will NEVER forget the costly error during game 6 of the 1986 World Series as that play road blocked The Red Sox from winning a world championship at Shea Stadium. Eventually, the boys from Bean Town would win a pair of fall classics afterwards as Bay State aficionados of America's favorite past time are also mourning the loss of a former Mets player who also served as a coach for this coveted team in the 80s.
(Photo image of Bud Harrelson courtesy of www.bestsportsphotos.com)
Derrill McKinley "Bud" Harrelson, the shortstop on the Mets’ first two World Series teams and later the club’s manager for parts of two seasons, passed away early Thursday morning at a hospice home in East Northport on Long Island due to complications from Alzheimer's Disease. ironically, Harrelson was born on D-Day, June 6th 1944 during the World War II invasion of Normandy across the pond. He was 79 years old, just months shy of his 80th birthday.
It wasn’t until 2018, two years after his diagnosis, that Harrelson went public with this challenging battle as he became active in the fight against Alzheimer’s, raising money and awareness as he lived with this crippling disease for almost 8 years.
(Photo image of Bud Harrelson, courtesy of www.wikipedia.org)
A good-fielding player who only hit 7 home runs and was credited with over 275 runs batted in, Harrelson spent 15 years in the major leagues and was the starting shortstop on both the Miracle Mets’ 1969 world championship team, as they defeated Baltimore that October, and they were baseball's 1973 National League pennant winners, but lost the World Series to the Oakland Athletics in seven games.
His death was announced by the Mets in a press release issued by Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen on Thursday morning.
"We were saddened to learn of Mets Hall of Famer Buddy Harrelson’s passing. He was a skilled defender and spark plug on the 1969 Miracle Mets. The Gold Glove shortstop played 13 years in Queens, appearing in more games at shortstop than anyone else in team history. Buddy was the third base coach on the 1986 World Champs, becoming the only person to be in uniform on both World Series winning teams. We extend our deepest condolences to his entire family.”
He wore uniform # 3 during his days at Shea Stadium between 1965 and 1977 and it was a joy watching him on the field when I attended ball games at Flushing By The Bay (in my opinion, they should have retired that jersey years ago) before being traded to the Philadelphia Phillies in 1978. After spending two seasons in the city of Brotherly Love, Harrelson finished his playing career in 1980 with the Texas Rangers.
One of the most memorable, but darkest moments in his career was back in the 1973 World Series where Cincinnati Red's outfielder Pete Rose got into a scuffle with Buddy after the Mets shortstop completed a double play during the fall classic. Check out the video clip that resulted in a melee between both teams. An ugly scene on the diamond courtesy of "Charlie Hustle" who was known for his bellicose behavior on the field.
(Video clip courtesy of www.youtube.com)
He also managed in the Mets organization before joining Davey Johnson’s major league staff midway through the 1985 season after Bobby Valentine left to become the manager of the Rangers. Buddy was the third base coach on the 1986 World Champs, becoming the only person to be in uniform on both World Series teams.
(Photo image of Bud Harrelson courtesy of Sports Illustrated magazine)
He continued being active in baseball as Harrelson was affiliated with the independent league Long Island Ducks since 2000. He holds the honor of being the team's first manager, and served as a member of their coaching staff and at the time of his death, a vice president and part owner.
Harrelson is survived by ex-wife Kim Battaglia, who also remained as his primary caregiver, 6 children and numerous grandchildren. His memory will ALWAYS remain eternal and everlasting.
(Some information obtained in this article courtesy of www.nypost.com)
(Featured image photo of Bud Harrelson courtesy of WSAZ-TV, channel 3)
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Gallery Credit: Seth Berkman