Bud Harrelson, the good-field, no-hit shortstop who helped to twice propel the New York Mets to the World Series, has passed away at the age of 79, the club announced Thursday.
Harrelson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease in 2016 and later entered hospice care in East Northport on Long Island where he passed away Wednesday evening. The New York Post highlighted a statement put out by the Mets expressing the team’s sadness for losing one of their Gold Glove winners.
“We were saddened to learn of Mets Hall of Famer Buddy Harrelson’s passing,” Mets owners Steve and Alex Cohen said in the release. “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 short 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.”
Harrelson was born to Glenn and Rena Harrelson in Niles, California on D-Day, 1944. He went on to graduate from San Francisco State University and in June 1963 signed with the Mets for a $13,500 contract even though the New York Yankees offered $3,000 more. Harrelson later said he was worried at the time about competing for playing time on the Yankees’ famed roster and being consigned to its minor league teams.
He spent 15 years with the Mets in which Harrelson was the starting shortstop both during the Miracle Mets’ 1969 world championship and their 1973 National pennant winners, which fell to the Oakland Athletics in seven World Series games. He would go on to coach the team for the 1990 and 1991 seasons.
In his later years, Harrelson took the helm of the independent league Long Island Ducks in 2000, rising from the club’s first manager and member of its coaching staff to vice president and part owner at the time of his death. He described his work cultivating the Ducks as “the best thing I have ever done in baseball.”
”Bud’s impact on Long Island will be felt through Ducks baseball for as long as we play,” Ducks owner and CEO Frank Boulton said in a news release Thursday. “He was my partner in bringing professional baseball to Long Island following his outstanding playing career in MLB and he made his mark on so many through his charitable giving, appearances and kindness. He was a one-of-a-kind human being, and he is missed greatly.”