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Former Met Bud Harrelson, dead at 79

A shortstop, a 69 Met, a Gold Glove winner, a coach, a manager, a legend.

Orioles v Mets Photo by Focus On Sport/Getty Images

After a long illness, former Met Derrel “Bud/Buddy” Harrelson passed away last night at age 79. Harrelson, someone who did just about all that one could do as a Met, died at a hospice facility in East Northport. A father of six, Harrelson was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s in 2016.

Harrelson made his MLB debut with the Mets during the 1965 season, but did not become a full-time player until 1967, where he appeared in 151 games for the club. Harrelson, always a better defender than hitter, was twice an All-Star, in 1970 and 1971, and received MVP votes in both of those years, as well as again in 1973.

In his 13 years with the Mets, Harrelson won a World Series in 1969, a Gold Glove in 1971, and a pennant in 1973. He was traded to the Phillies before the 1978 season for Tim Foli, and would re-sign with the Phillies for the 1979 season. He played one more year for the Rangers before retiring following the 1980 season.

Harrelson was a coach for the Mets in 1982 and again from 1986-1990, winning a World Series in 1986. After Davey Johnson was let go early in the 1990 season, Harrelson took over managerial duties until he was relieved of his duties in the last week of the 1991 season.

Harrelson may be remembered best for his fist fight with Pete Rose during Game 3 of the 1973 National League Championship Series. Rose was insulted by Harrelson’s praise of Mets’ starter John Matlack, saying that “he made the Big Red Machine look like me hitting today.” Such a self-deprecating comment seems innocuous enough, but after Rose went hard into second base, attempting to break up a double play and, perhaps, put a hurt on Harrelson. The two came to blows and the benches cleared.

For that alone, but also for his two championships, role as a manager, and regular appearances with the team - including the infamous Everybody Loves Raymond episode featuring many members of the 1969 club - Harrelson achieved legendary status with Mets fans. He will certainly be missed.

Our condolences go out to Harrelson’s family, friends, and fans.