Bud Harrelson, Shortstop for ‘Miracle Mets’ of 1969, Dies at 79

An outstanding fielder, he helped the team win the World Series that year and reach another in 1973. He stayed with the Mets as a coach and, briefly, manager.

THE NEW YORK TIMES – Bud Harrelson, the slick-fielding shortstop who helped take the Mets to their astonishing 1969 World Series championship and the 1973 National League pennant, and who remained in a Mets uniform as a coach in the 1980s and their manager in the early ’90s, died on Thursday in East Northport, N.Y., on Long Island. He was 79.

His death, at a hospice, was announced by Jay Horwitz, the Mets’ vice president of alumni relations. Harrelson learned in 2016 that he had Alzheimer’s disease.

Harrelson played in the major leagues for 16 seasons, 13 with the Mets; he appeared in 1,322 games with the team, the fourth most in franchise history. (Ed Kranepool tops the list with 1,853 games played, followed by David Wright and Jose Reyes.)

Standing 5 feet 10 inches and weighing between 145 and 155 pounds at varying times, he wasn’t much of a threat at the plate. He had a .236 career batting average and hit only seven home runs. But he possessed outstanding range in the field and a strong arm.

He won a National League Gold Glove Award in 1971 for his fielding, appeared in two All-Star Games and was inducted into the Mets’ Hall of Fame in 1986.

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Harrelson was signed by the Mets in June 1963, after starring at shortstop with San Francisco State University. After playing in the minors, he made his Mets debut in early September 1965, joining a team that had known only futility since its first season, three years earlier.

He was remembered especially for a chaotic scene at Shea Stadium in Queens during Game 3 of the 1973 National League Championship Series between the Mets and the Cincinnati Reds.

After the Mets’ Jon Matlack shut out the Reds in Game 2, Harrelson told sportswriters that the team known as the Big Red Machine “looked like me hitting.” That quip found its way to the Reds star Pete Rose …

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